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Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel

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Receipt of Application - FAQ

Questions and Answers

What is a joint review panel?

A joint review panel is an independent expert panel appointed to consider and make assessments with respect to a proposed application. Such panels are selected on the basis of their knowledge and expertise to review and assess a proposed project which may cause significant adverse environmental effects and/or involves a high degree of public concern.

The Joint Review Panel (Panel) for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project was established in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It must review the project application, conduct an environmental assessment t and determine if the proposed project is in the public interest according to the National Energy Board Act.

Why does this project warrant a joint review panel process?

When a project may cause significant adverse environmental effects or there is a high degree of public concern, a project can be referred to a joint review panel process. The Minister of the Environment decided that the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project would be assessed using a joint review panel.

How will a decision about the project be made?

Panel members will conduct a public and consultative process where they will receive and consider all the information on the record. The record will include information submitted by the project proponent and other participants.

Based on the record, the Panel will produce a report that contains all the information for the environmental assessment as well as the Panel’s recommendations regarding whether the Project should be approved and the reasons for this recommendation. The report will also include terms and conditions that the applicant must implement if the Project is approved.

The Panel’s report is submitted to the Governor in Council who will make the decision on the environmental assessment (whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and if so, whether such effects are justified in the circumstances). The Governor in Council will also decide, by order, whether the National Energy Board should issue a certificate and will give reasons for the order.

Who are the Panel members?

The Panel consists of three panel members. Two members are permanent National Energy Board Members: Sheila Leggett and Kenneth Bateman. Ms. Leggett is also the Panel Chair. The third panel member, Hans Matthews, was appointed by the Minister of the Environment and is a temporary member of the National Energy Board. For details on their backgrounds and expertise, please see the Panel Backgrounder.

What is the mandate of the Panel?

The Panel's mandate is described in the Joint Review Panel Agreement. The Agreement includes the terms of reference for the panel and procedures for conducting the joint review process.

On 3 August, the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board announced amendments to the Joint Review Panel Agreement to comply with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the Jobs, Growth, and Long-term Prosperity Act. The amended agreement can be found on the public registry. [Filing A44689]

Under the Agreement, the Panel will, among other things:

  • conduct an examination of the environmental effects of the proposed project and the significance of those effects;
  • consider measures that are technically and economically feasible to mitigate any adverse environmental effects, the need for and the requirements of any follow-up programs with respect to the project;
  • consider comments from the public and Aboriginal peoples that are received during the review;
  • conduct public hearings to receive relevant information about the project;
  • provide various ways in which interested organizations and people including members of the public and Aboriginal groups may participate the hearing process;
  • submit to the Governor in Council a report that includes an environmental assessment as well as a recommendation on whether or not the project should proceed.

What will the Panel consider in determining whether or not to recommend approval of this project?

The Panel will assess the environmental effects of the project in accordance with the Joint Review Panel Agreement and Terms of Reference. Issues related to routing and land matters, safety, economic feasibility and any other areas relevant to the Joint Review Panel mandate will be assessed under the National Energy Board Act.

Anyone wishing to have specific issues considered by the Panel should bring them forward at the appropriate time, which will be clearly identified in correspondence from the Panel with advance notice provided.

Once the Panel has heard from interested organizations and people, including members of the public and Aboriginal groups, on the issues they want considered, it will finalize and publish the issues it will consider when making its report.

On 3 August, the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board announced amendments to the Joint Review Panel Agreement to comply with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the Jobs, Growth, and Long-term Prosperity Act. The amended agreement can be found on the public registry. [Filing A44689]

What are the next steps for this joint review process?

  1. The Panel will review the application and, if appropriate, initiate the joint review process and issue a Hearing Order which will set out the procedures for the project review.
  2. Information sessions for interested organizations and people including members of the public and Aboriginal groups will be held in communities close to the proposed project.
  3. The Panel will hold public sessions to hear comments on the List of Issues, whether additional information is required from the proponent, and oral hearing locations.
  4. Organizations and people will decide how they want to participate in this process (options will be outlined in the Hearing Order).
  5. Oral hearing session locations and dates will be announced.
  6. Oral hearing sessions will be held in certain communities along the proposed route.
  7. The Panel will submit to the Governor in Council a report that includes an environmental assessment as well as a recommendation on whether or not the project should proceed.

What options are available for sharing my view on the project?

The Hearing Order, which will be issued by the Panel, will outline the timeline, activities and ways in which interested organizations and people, including members of the public and Aboriginal groups, may participate in the hearing process. The Hearing Order and additional information will be available on the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's websites.

Will there be information sessions in my community?

Prior to oral hearing sessions, there will be two other types of sessions held in a number of communities potentially affected by the project. The locations for such sessions will be announced at a later date. Sessions will be advertised through local media and the list of locations will also be available on the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's websites.

The first set of sessions will focus on providing information on the joint review process and the participation options for those interested in expressing their views on the project.

There will be sessions for interested organizations and people including members of the public and Aboriginal groups. Staff of the Joint Review Panel will be available to answer questions and provide information.

The second set of sessions will be conducted by the Joint Review Panel members. The Panel members will be seeking comments from interested organizations and people including members of the public and Aboriginal groups on:

  • the draft List of Issues that is sent out with the Hearing Order;
  • locations for oral hearings; and
  • other information that is required from the applicant.

Were will the oral hearing sessions be held?

Locations for oral hearing sessions have not yet been determined as information received during the Panel sessions (to be held earlier in the process) will inform this decision. The Panel's decision of the dates and locations for the oral hearing sessions will be communicated in a news release. This information will also be posted on the National Energy Board and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's websites.

The Mackenzie Gas Project also has a Joint Review Panel component. Is this Joint Review Panel the same process as that one?

No. The Joint Review Panel for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project is a single panel whose mandates are established in portions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act. There will be one oral hearing process and both the environmental assessment and the regulatory recommendation under the National Energy Board Act will be made by the three member Joint Review Panel. For the Mackenzie Gas Project, the joint review process was separate from the regulatory decisions required under the National Energy Board Act and only dealt with the environmental effects of the project.

How is the Panel assisting the federal Crown with respect to the Crown's duty to consult with Aboriginal people?

The federal Crown's duty to consult with Aboriginal people is being coordinated by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The Crown will rely on the joint review process and the applicant's consultation efforts, to the extent possible, to meet the Crown's duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, on behalf of the Crown, will lead consultation if there are any issues related to the project that are beyond the mandate of the Joint Review Panel. The Crown will continuously monitor the adequacy or sufficiency of its Aboriginal consultation efforts throughout the Panel process.

The Panel will receive and consider information from Aboriginal peoples related to how the project may affect potential or established Aboriginal and treaty rights, before it issues its report or makes recommendations and decisions.

Aboriginal people or groups who have project-related concerns should make these known to the Panel through the joint review process. For more information on Aboriginal Consultation for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, please see the Aboriginal Consultation Framework for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.

Who are the responsible authorities for this project?

Responsible authorities are the federal authorities whose actions or powers trigger the environmental assessment of a particular project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Responsible authorities must ensure that an environmental assessment of the project is conducted as early as possible in the planning stages of the project and before irrevocable decisions are made.

For the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, responsible authorities include:

  • the National Energy Board who may issue a certificate under section 52 of the National Energy Board Act;
  • Transport Canada who may grant leave under the National Energy Board Act and may issue a permit under the Navigable Waters Protection Act;
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada who may issue an authorization under the Fisheries Act;
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada who may provide access to federal lands for the purpose of enabling this project to be carried out;
  • the Canadian Transportation Agency who may issue a permit under the Transportation Safety Act; and
  • Environment Canada who may issue a permit under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

If the project is approved, who will have regulatory authority over it?

The National Energy Board regulates inter-provincial and international pipelines. The Northern Gateway Pipeline Project crosses the Alberta/British Columbia border, so it is classified as an inter-provincial pipeline. Accordingly, if the project is approved, regulatory oversight will primarily be the responsibility of the National Energy Board.

How long would the National Energy Board maintain regulatory oversight?

The National Energy Board's involvement in a pipeline project is for the entire lifecycle of the project, including planning, construction, operation and abandonment.

How can I be kept informed of the process?

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency provides periodic updates on the Panel's activities. To receive these updates, provide a full e-mail address to Gateway.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

There will also be information posted on the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's websites.

What is the National Energy Board and what does it do?

The National Energy Board is an independent federal agency that regulates parts of Canada's energy industry including inter-provincial and international pipelines. The purpose of the National Energy Board is to ensure the energy industry is developed in a responsible manner for the benefit of all Canadians. This includes promoting safety, security, environmental protection and efficient energy infrastructure and markets.

The National Energy Board makes decisions under the National Energy Board Act, which sets out the mandate for the National Energy Board. The Natioal Energy Board Act establishes the National Energy Board's authority in energy projects.

What is the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency?

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, as set out in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This process identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of sustainable development.

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Date Modified:
2012-11-05