Saskatchewan suggests it should be new home of NEB board of governors
Province responds to federal report on modernization of the National Energy Board
Published on: June 13, 2017 | Last Updated: June 13, 2017 11:46 AM CST
Energy Minister Dustin Duncan TROY FLEECE / REGINA LEADER-POST
In response to a federal report on modernizing the National Energy Board (NEB), the provincial government suggests a Saskatchewan location for a new board of governors.
Late last year, federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr established an expert panel to review the structure, role and mandate of the NEB. Following widespread consultations, it submitted its final report, Forward, Together: Enabling Canada’s Clean, Safe, and Secure Energy Future, in May 2017.
During the review, the Saskatchewan government shared three main interests with the panel — to gain greater access to tidewater for Canadian-produced crude oil, to prioritize moving toward pan-Canadian crude oil self-sufficiency, and to repair the global image of Canadian crude oil through promotion of the facts at home and abroad.
“Our government welcomes changes that will result in the approval of sound energy projects,” said Dustin Duncan, provincial energy and resources minister, in a news release issued Tuesday. “But those projects must be built in a timely manner for the benefit of all Canadians, including those who live and work in Saskatchewan.”
The provincial government maintains the NEB needs to separate broad policy concerns from the technical review process, while avoiding lengthy approval timelines for project proponents. One of the panel’s specific recommendations is to abolish the NEB and establish two separate bodies: the Canadian Energy Transmission Commission (CETC), to perform the technical review of pipeline projects within the federal jurisdiction; and the Canadian Energy Information Agency (CEIA), to provide data, information and analysis to both decision makers and the public.
The panel also recommends that the CETC be comprised of an independent board of governors located in Ottawa and hearing commissioners located anywhere in Canada.
“Our government supports the creation of two separate bodies, but we strongly disagree with the panel’s recommendation to situate a potential board of governors in Ottawa,” Duncan said.
“Saskatoon is the ideal location. Most major oil and gas pipelines pass through Saskatchewan and many companies have a major presence in our province, although none have headquarters in Saskatoon,” he added in the release. He suggested a Saskatoon location would allow close proximity to the energy expertise in this province and Alberta and contended that “locating the board in Saskatoon guards against concerns of partisanship and influence from lobby groups.”
The provincial government has submitted multiple comments primarily focusing on the ability of the NEB, or its successor, to approve energy projects using a non-partisan, science-based approach.