Environmental aspects ignored by pipeline review agency

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The National Energy Board (NEB) of Canada – a safety board tasked with deciding which pipelines will and will not be built – is refusing to consider several potentially damaging environmental impacts in its reviews, despite their stated goal to make “energy infrastructure the very safest it can be.”

With the Energy East Pipeline in particular, the NEB does not consider the effects of increased carbon emissions from extracting tar sand oil, nor does it consider the effects of downstream exposure to chemicals and toxins from the mining projects.

The NEB is populated by members appointed by the pro-oil, pro-tar sand Harper government, all with past ties to either oil and gas companies like Gaz Metro, or ministerial positions pertaining to mining and development. Despite receiving over 100,000 letters from the public, the NEB still refuses to include these considerations in its reviews of pipeline development. The letters asked for a full environmental review, considering the NEB is the sole government institution to approve or deny new pipelines.

Coverage of both Energy East and of the Keystone XL pipeline has mentioned the NEB and its role, but has not critically examined the composition of the board or mentioned the outpouring of protest it has received. Agencies like 350.org and Leadnow.ca helped to organize the 100,000 letters of protest, which received scant media coverage.


Council of Canadians, “Action Alert – NEB: We need a fair pipeline review.” n.d. http://www.canadians.org/energyeast-neb

Marc Eliesen, “National Energy Board has a clear bias”, Burnabynow, Feb. 16, 2015 http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/your-letters/national-energy-board-has-a-clear-bias-1.1764691

Stop Energy East Halifax, “Haligonians Call for TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline a Climate Nightmare,” Oct. 30, 2014 http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/32037

Student researcher: Alec Salloum (University of Regina)

Faculty evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)