NEB Takes Energy East Application to Woodshed
Concluding that not even experts could understand the company’s application, the NEB instructed TransCanada to provide “clear, relevant, and timely information” in an “easy-to-follow format that can also be easily searched and referenced.”
In what appears to be a sharp reversal in policy after years of dismissing public input into its project reviews as inessential, and frequently barring public access to hearings entirely, the much-criticized regulator issued a stinging condemnation of TransCanada’s voluminous but opaque filings in a letter delivered February 3.
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The board noted that in addition to its original application for permission to build the controversial pipeline, TransCanada had submitted five supplemental reports, five submission listing “multiple errata,” and five rounds of replies to NEB queries. The result “is difficult even for experts to navigate” and “will be even more difficult for the general public to comprehend.”
“As participants in the hearing will have an opportunity to test the evidence on the record,” the board added in its letter, “it is critical that the evidence be available in a format that promotes usability and readability.”
The NEB gave the company just two weeks to provide a proposed table of contents for the reformatted application, which must be submitted in both English and French before the NEB will proceed.
Through spokesman Mark Cooper, the company insisted to The Canadian Press that the additional work will not delay commissioning of its pipeline by 2020.