National Energy Board Consultation on Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Section Update to Filing Manual
When: January 14, 2011
Where: Calgary, AB
Following a request from the National Energy Board (NEB), the RCEN's Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus selected 10 ENGO delegates to participate in a bilateral consultation to seek ENGO input into the Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment (ESA) Section Update to the NEB's Filing Manual. The Filing Manual has been developed to provide guidance regarding the information the NEB would typically need when making its decision on a proposed project.
Read the written and oral submissions from RCEN selected delegates to this consultation by visiting the NEB website (see Supporting Documents).
The Filing Manual Update provides an opportunity for all interested parties and the Board to engage in dialogue, improve understanding of environmental and socio-economic assessment review processes currently in place, and generate options for potential improvements to the environmental and socio-economic assessment section of the Filing Manual. This consuiltation assisted the NEB in fulfilling its responsibilities under the National Energy Board Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
RCEN Selected ENGO Delegates
- Gary Schneider, Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island
- Arlene Kwasniak, Alberta Wilderness Association
- Chief Roland Willson or Bruce Muir, West Moberly First Nations
- Stephen Hazell, Ecojustice
- Josh Paterson, West Coast Environmental Law
- Robert Rattle, Clean North
- Hugh Benevides, Canadian Environmental Law Association
- Josh Brandon, Green Action Centre
- Mary Richardson, Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Alliance
- Tony Pearse, Citizens' Stewardship Coalition
RCEN Selected ENGO Alternates
- John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada
- Doug Badger, Regional Environmental Action Committee
- Holly Vear, B.C. Sustainable Energy Association
- Nathan Lemphers, Pembina Institute
The NEB’s objectives for consultation activities on the ESA section of the Filing Manual are to:
- Improve understanding of ESA review processes currently in place;
- Clarify the Board’s expectations for filings; and
- Identify opportunities for potential improvements to the ESA section of the Filing Manual.
RCEN selected ENGO delegates and the NEB Project Team consisting of:
- Céline Sirois, Project Manager and Technical Specialist, Environment
- Kym Hopper-Smith, Assistant Project Manager
- Kent Lien, Technical Specialist, Environment
- Marcus Eyre, Technical Specialist, Environment
- Margaret McQuiston, Technical Specialist, Socio-economics
The National Energy Board is an independent federal agency established to promote safety and security, environmental protection and economic efficiency in the Canadian public interest within the mandate set by Parliament for the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.
Companies regulated by the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) are required to seek the
Board's approval to, among other things:
- construct and operate international and interprovincial pipelines and international powerlines in Canada, along with related facilities and activities, or modify or abandon existing facilities and activities;
- export oil and electricity, and export and import gas; and
- establish pipeline tolls and tariffs.
- evaluate the potential benefits of a project and its potential negative aspects;
- assess the various impacts; and
- make an informed decision in the Canadian public interest that integrates, among other things, present and future economic, environmental and social considerations in support of Canada’s pursuit of a sustainable energy future.
While it is ultimately the responsibility of an applicant to make its case before the Board, the Filing Manual has been developed to provide guidance regarding the information the Board would typically need when making its decision on a proposed project. This will assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities under the National Energy Board Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It is the Board’s expectation that applicants will consider the Filing Manual to the extent necessary and based on the facts of their own proposed project. Please note, however, that in every case, the Board will determine the information that is required to be filed in order to assess that particular project on its merits, and the information set out in the Filing Manual does not prevent the Board from requesting any additional information it may find relevant.
At this time, key areas for improvement relate to environmental and socio-economic assessment methodology and include:
- Assessing environmental and socio-economic effects of a project – for example, establishing project scope, alternatives, and spatial and temporal boundaries, considering accepted thresholds,management objectives, or land use and recovery plans, and determining significance;
- Assessing the cumulative effects of the project in combination with other projects – for example, defining “other projects”, establishing spatial and temporal boundaries, and identifying means and accountability for mitigation and monitoring.
For more information or to view the Draft Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Section of the Filing Manual go here.