Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Canadian regulatory reforms focus on issues important to pipeline industry

CALGARY, Alta. - The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) said it strongly supports the announcement made in the federal government budget regarding the need to reform current regulatory processes when reviewing and deciding on major pipeline projects.

"This announcement is very good news for the pipeline industry," Dr. Brenda Kenny, president of CEPA, said on March 29. "We strongly support this positive move towards a more effective, efficient and timely regulatory process."

Speaking on behalf of CEPA's member companies, which represent major transmission pipelines in Canada, Kenny further stated that an improved process would allow environmental assessments to focus on major environmental concerns that could amount to a 'show stopper' (i.e. significant adverse environmental effects). If the project is to proceed, specific environmental considerations should be addressed by environmental regulation, at a later stage. At that point, industry and other stakeholders' resources could be allocated more efficiently.

CEPA supports the 'one project-one review' approach with time certainty by the best-placed regulator in considering major pipeline projects. In the case of most CEPA member companies, it would likely be the National Energy Board (NEB).

"The NEB has an in-depth knowledge of safety, environmental, and social factors linked to major pipeline projects, as well as, the experience to balance local and national interests," Kenny stated. "In addition, we're pleased to see that the federal budget is increasing resources to improve pipeline safety through better monitoring and auditing." 

CEPA believes this streamlined approach will allow project proponents, regulators, stakeholders and aboriginal communities to focus on developing and implementing practical solutions that will make a real difference.

"Our member companies typically spend between three to five percent of their project capital costs on environmental assessments and regulatory processes. This equates to approximately $30-50 million dollars, based on a $1 billion dollar project," Kenny said. "We support thorough reviews that focus on important environmental and social considerations. In doing so, we can deploy technical expertise and resources to address environmental and social issues, enhance best practices and develop new technologies."

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