The National Energy Board has less than six months to redo its environmental review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, this time taking into account the impact of additional oil tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is making the announcement this morning in Halifax, where Canada is hosting environment and energy ministers at a G7 summit meeting.
The federal cabinet has ordered the NEB to return with a new recommendation within 22 weeks on whether the pipeline expansion should proceed after taking a look at the environmental impact of having more than three dozen oil tankers shipping diluted bitumen through the Burrard Inlet every month.
The Federal Court of Appeal last month quashed the approval the NEB and the cabinet gave the project in 2016, citing improper consultation with Indigenous communities and a lack of review of the marine shipping issue.
Several Indigenous communities, environment groups and the B.C. government are concerned about the higher risk of oil spills if an expanded pipeline increases oil tanker traffic from five per month to 35.
Sohi is also appointing a special marine technical adviser to be part of the NEB’s new review, but that person has yet to be named.
The Canadian Press