NEB ….Modernization suggestions….
Our Federal government is on the horns of a dilemma…They have a BC/Alberta energy export plan that potentially offers Canada billions in (tax) revenue……Government likely would prefer that this ‘pipeline’ application is recommended to government after NEB review….although the Federal government can approve the project, in the National Interest ,without the NEB approval… ‘ because the government must gain the revenue…in the National Interest !
Online we’re told “NEB… regulate pipelines….in the Canadian public interest. By considering all the evidence…. We … make decisions …. that represent ….interests and concerns of Canadians”
Government is never easy…as they must find a way to convince the ‘electorate’ that they considered‘ all the evidence’ put before them .. which in BC excluded the key evidence…specifically ,a science-based independent BC coast risk assessment.
Herein lies the basis of the BC public concern about the Kinder Morgan, Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline(TMEP)… …What went wrong…the NEB saw only the evidence (put before them), “not all evidence’ …and excluded any independent expert science that studied the potential navigation risks on the entire BC coast…or any of ‘THE SCIENCE that our Prime Minister promised …We saw no southern BC community give ‘permission’ for the TMEP…which the PM also said was required to gain a government ‘permit’..! Add to this the PM publically stated ,unfounded, ‘preference’ for the TMEP…!
What to do….fix the NEB so that it can better do its job of protecting the public interest…right now the NEB role ,as structured ,appears more as the proponent’ advocate… The NEB ignored the issue of greatest public concern(potential marine risks)…which played nicely into the proponents favour…The TMEP energy export PROJECT should include several infrastructure components …the pipelines, storage tanks, shipping terminals ,cleanup facilities, in place insurance policies, improved navigation equipment, and protected shipping routes…etc.
The NEB hearing process should include ,as required, necessary on site expertise for all parties …the public , the Board and the proponent, to question…in order that the public sees that ‘due process ‘ happens…….Recall that the PM promised to use science to help when deciding…a major concern of the BC public was the ill-chosen dilbit tanker routes…In the public interest the stable of government scientists(or contacted world experts) should have prepared a risk analysis of the BC coast…and then ,during the NEB review ,argue ,in the public interest, for the least risk routing…
Other ‘blocking ‘ issues are the ineffective First |Nations communications…and the Climate Change concern…which also must be dealt with during the Hearing…the public wants to see how these issues were addressed….knowing that compromises will be required…but the pipelines are vital…and ultimately must be built…
So yes, reshape the NEB and require that it offer a well-balanced review of all related issues of public concern…openly…and yes imperfectly…
One last issue is about THE PIPELINE CORPORATION ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE…which should include an ongoing corporate function, responsible and unfettered, to determine and report system integrity issues and recommendations directly to the Board…on a need to know basis..
Boards, typically ,claim they their main responsibility is to provide corporate STEWARDSHIP…presumably for the entire organization…
Include in the corporate structure an expert executive RESPONSIBLE to watch over the integrity of the entire pipeline system … this responsible person, will have access to all system operations staff/reports and will attend or lead on national and international associations/committees that include operations safety as a key component …thus ensuring that the corporation ,ultimately. is given the best ‘operations safety ‘ counsel available…allowing the Board then to direct the necessary ,timely, remedies … This accountability feature should allow the Board make better use of its ability to correct a pending operations calamity…Some might suggest…that a ‘bit’ of accountability sharpens the senses !
Something new/different for consideration…I use the comment the U.S. NTSB about the Enbridge Pipeline investigation known ‘questionable’ condition…to humbly offer my recommendation…
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/PAR1201.pdf “ Deficient integrity management procedures, which allowed well-documented crack defects in corroded areas to propagate until the pipeline failed.” This NTSB comment begs the question…did the Enbridge Board know about the ‘well-documented crack defects’?…should they have known ?….and more importantly…what should Enbridge do…to reduce the probability of a repeat ,similar ,event..
Does the structural change suggested help to reduce public safety calamities such as the July 2010 Enbridge Kalamazoo incident…
Boards, typically ,might prefer to not have to deal with ‘nuts and bolts’ issues…but has that time now arrived…?
Carl Shalansky, P. Eng. (Retired)
3359 Redfern Place,North Vancouver,BC,v7n3w2