By Chris Tollefson, Executive Director Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation.
Early on in its remarkably candid treatise released today, the Expert Panel tasked with advising the Trudeau government on how to modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) observes that the issue it was asked to grapple with “is much larger than simply the performance of the NEB in and of itself”: read the panel report here.
Since the 2013 Northern Gateway pipeline hearings, our national energy regulator has been buffeted by one controversy after another. The NEB must bear some of the blame for this. Its work on the Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and Energy East files underscore that its expertise does not lie in the realm of environmental assessment. But it is also a victim of history — an institution conceived and born in an era (almost 60 years ago) long before Indigenous rights, climate change and decarbonization had political, let alone legal, salience.