Canada Plans Pipeline Review Changes in Coming Weeks to Months

  • Environment minister says energy industry wants certainty
  • McKenna speaks to reporters after meetings in Alberta

Canada plans to outline changes to pipeline reviews in the coming weeks and months as the Liberal government seeks to restore confidence in its regulators.

The international community and Canadians want to see a robust environmental assessment process for pipelines, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Tuesday after meeting in Edmonton with provincial and municipal government officials, environmentalists and oil company representatives.

“We certainly hear the message from industry that certainty is important and the plan isn’t to drag this out over years,” McKenna told reporters by phone. “That is part of my mandate, a very important part of my mandate.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won last month’s federal election after campaigning on a platform that promised to work with provinces to “take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution.” He pledged greater scrutiny of oil pipelines proposed to the nation’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts and better consultation with communities that would be affected. Since taking power, Trudeau’s government has said there will be a transition to a new regulatory regime and reviews under way will continue.

McKenna spelled out five priorities for the federal government’s climate policy to reporters Tuesday, including a shift from coal to renewable power, putting a price on carbon, rapidly improving the efficiency of buildings, modernizing public transportation with electric vehicles and investing in education.

She said a plan for Canada’s climate must include a strategy from Alberta, the oil-producing province that emits the most greenhouse gas. Alberta’s New Democratic Party government elected in May is expected to outline its own climate policy changes ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that starts in Paris on Nov. 30, she said.