Deadline on Northern Gateway firm: NEB
Chair says he will use "any measure" to enforce timeline set by Ottawa
The chair of Canada’s National Energy Board says he will use “any measure” he considers “appropriate” to enforce the December 31, 2013, deadline given to the three-member Joint Review Panel tasked with reviewing Enbridge Inc.’s $6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline.
In a letter dated August 7 that was posted yesterday on the regulator’s web site, Gaetan Caron says he is “confident” the timeline set by the federal government will be met. Ottawa issued a notice last week that gave the panel until the end of next year to conclude its report on the hotly contested pipeline.
“Given the duties assigned to me as Chair of the NEB … I will be interested in your work and will closely follow your progress,” Caron said in the letter, which was addressed to panel members.
“In that respect, I wish to bring to your attention that, if the Minister of the Environment and I are of the opinion that the time limit is not likely to be met, then I may … take any measure I consider appropriate to ensure the time limit is met.”
The notice comes as Enbridge faces sharp criticism following pipeline ruptures on the company’s Lakehead system.
The company’s Gateway project has also met with stiff resistance from first nations in British Columbia.
Enbridge has defended its safety record, most recently taking out full page ads in newspapers to publish an open letter signed by incoming company president Al Monaco.
Caron’s recent letter marks the second time in recent weeks that the NEB chair has waded into the fracas over Northern Gateway. A letter posted to the regulator’s web site dated Aug. 1 said the board would conduct safety audits of Enbridge’s control room practices, which were heavily criticized by the United States National Transportation Safety Board following its investigation into a July 2010 spill in Michigan.