After six months of consultations, the National Energy Board (NEB) Modernization Expert Panel has delivered its long-awaited report.
The results are damning.
“In our consultations we heard of a National Energy Board that has fundamentally lost the confidence of many Canadians,” the five-member panel wrote. “We heard that Canadians have serious concerns that the NEB has been ‘captured’ by the oil and gas industry.”
The 87-page report issued 26 key recommendations to repair the oft-criticized quasi-judicial tribunal, responsible for regulating interprovincial and international oil, gas and electricity projects.
Those include establishing a one-year review process by cabinet to ascertain whether a major project meets “national interest” prior to regulatory review, replacing the NEB with a “Canadian Energy Transmission Commission” and placing a broader focus on interprovincial transmission lines and renewable energy.
In addition, the panel recommended the government create a new agency responsible for collecting information about energy, relocate board headquarters back to Ottawa, considerably improve consultation with Indigenous peoples including an Indigenous Major Projects Office and extend the timelines for review of major projects (which were accelerated under the previous Conservative government).