The federal government’s plan to revamp how pipelines and other major projects are approved will lead to no new pipelines in the future according to one industry association.
Leaders from across the natural resource sector were in Ottawa on Wednesday to testify before the House of Commons Environment Committee on the impact of Bill C-69. Voices from across industry said the bill could have a negative impact on their future in Canada but the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said C-69 would bring new projects to a standstill.
“In fact, it is difficult to imagine that a new major pipeline could be built in Canada under the Impact Assessment Act, much less attract energy investment to Canada,” said CEPA President Chris Bloomer.
The government claims that their revised approval process will lead to shorter timelines for project to be accepted or rejected, something Bloomer disagrees with.
“We cannot see that timelines will improve. We expect them to be longer,” Bloomer told the committee.
Bloomer also took issue with the government’s claim that the revised process will bring greater clarity.
“Instead, it introduces a new regulatory agency and unique new processes and information requirements that have never been tested. The public participation standing test has been removed,” Bloomer said. “Science and fact-based assessments can now been obscured by the layering of other policy based assessments that are ill-defined, fluid and open to potential strategies of delay and obfuscation of the processes by groups opposed to any project.”
The dire warning from one of the leaders of the industry comes shortly after a Scotiabank report estimated that the lack of a sufficient pipeline network to transport oil and gas to market was costing the Canadian economy more than $15 billion per year.
“Reliance on the existing pipeline network and rail shipments to bring Canadian oil to market has a demonstrable impact on Canada’s well-being, with consequences that extend well beyond Alberta,” read the report issued in February by Scotiabank senior vice-president and chief economist Jean-Francois Perrault and commodity economist Rory Johnston.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said time and again that he believes Canada must improve on the environment to build the economy, a theme he returned to Wednesday in the Commons.
“We know, Canadians know, that doing it together, the economy and the environment, is the only way forward, and that is what we are doing,” Trudeau said.
Now a major industry association is saying Trudeau’s plan will lead to no new projects.
The Trudeau Liberals effectively cancelled the Northern Gateway pipeline when they came to office by putting in a tanker ban off the West Coast. They approved Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain project but that project is now in jeopardy due to delays and court challenges by protesters.
Another major project was abandoned last fall after rules changes that mirror those found in the legislation now under review. TransCanada abandoned their Energy East project after they were told they would be subject to both upstream and downstream emissions test, something a pipeline proposed to take natural gas to a Quebec port won’t have to contend with.
Bloomer says the inclusion of upstream and downstream emissions tests will kill his industry.
“With built in climate change tests covering upstream and downstream emissions, it is preposterous to expect that a pipeline proponent would spend upwards of $1 billion, only to be denied approval at the end because the project must account for emissions from the production of the product to consumption in another part of the world. If the goal is to curtail oil and gas production and to have no more pipelines built, this legislation may have hit the mark,” Bloomer said.
Watch his full opening statement to the committee below.