Bob Zimmer, MP Prince George-Peace River
I think that most people will agree that the only rational way for governments to deal with major development projects is to base those decisions on facts, and expert scientific advice. That is why four years ago, the Joint Review Panel began reviewing the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. In December 2013, the panel submitted a recommendation to our Government that the project be approved with 209 conditions attached.
After carefully reviewing this recommendation, our Government has accepted the Panel’s recommendation to impose these 209 stringent conditions that must be met by the proponent.
We have always been clear that projects will only be approved if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. That is why these mandatory conditions include strict standards for the construction of the pipeline.
Opponents of the projects do not seem to consider just how stringent these conditions are. Before any constructions begin, Enbridge needs to meet 130 conditions. They need to demonstrate the pipeline environmental effects monitoring system to the National Energy Board’s satisfaction (conditions 27-35). There must be a separate program for marine environmental effects (conditions 36-38), and the first of these reports need to be submitted within one year. Marine mammal protection plans must be in place and submitted to the regulator a full 9 months before construction begins on the Kitimat terminal (conditions 50-51). There are more conditions to protect and restore disturbed caribou habitat (conditions 57-62, 188-190, 194-195), wetlands (conditions 67-70), and fish habitat (conditions 120-122, 125-126).
The conditions put on Enbridge compel them to be continually engaged with local communities, aboriginal groups, research organizations, and stakeholder groups at every step of the process (conditions 30-35, 37-38, 53-56, 78, 89-92, 95-98, 136, 193, 197-198).
Our Government has a clear role as a regulator that ensures projects are built and operate safely. It is the private sector proponents who must demonstrate that their projects meet Canada’s world class safety standards.
Canadians expect our Government to make reasonable decisions which take all relevant factors into account. It is exactly what we did in approving the NEB’s 209 conditions on this project.
All 209 conditions are up on my website at bobzimmer.ca.