Canada’s new pipeline rules will consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, including those “upstream” of the project, and will be unveiled shortly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Trudeau spoke Tuesday in Montreal alongside Denis Coderre, the city’s Mayor, who announced his opposition last week to TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East proposal, sparking heated rebuttals from other Canadian political leaders.
Trudeau downplayed the tensions in pledging to reveal a new review process for Canadian pipeline proposals “very soon,” saying projects need to win public trust to move forward. The new process will consider the emissions impact of the project, including upstream emissions, Trudeau said. Upstream emissions typically refer to those from exploration and production.
“The role of the federal government is to put in place a process whereby TransCanada or any other company could demonstrate the project is in the public’s interest,” Trudeau told reporters.
“My responsibility as prime minister is to make sure that, on national projects, we’re behaving in a way that both contributes to the economy, to a secure environment, to bringing people together and mostly to creating a better future for future generations.”
Trudeau’s government is preparing changes that include “transition plans” for existing proposals, such as Energy East and Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, allowing them to adhere to a new, higher environmental review standard without restarting the lengthy application process. Those are due in the coming weeks.
The new rules will be a “clear process that will ensure that greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed,” Trudeau said Tuesday. He deflected questions about whether he was trying to reverse Coderre’s position.
“My goal is to ensure that one of the responsibilities of the government of Canada is to find ways to export our products and resources in a responsible way,” Trudeau said. “In the twenty-first century, that means environmental responsibility, it means community approval, it means a partnership with indigenous people and communities, and it means a deeper process than what we’ve seen in the past.”
Coderre left the door open to TransCanada’s proposal by suggesting it was still possible to strike the right balance.
“Just because we’re asking questions and asking people to do their homework doesn’t mean we’re lacking respect for others,” Coderre said. “We believe it is possible to strike the right balance, and the federal government, as he said, is to act as an arbiter in this.”