Energy Executive Quits Pipeline Review, Calls NEB Process A ‘Public Deception’

Energy Executive Quits Trans Mountain Pipeline Review, Calls NEB Process A ‘Public Deception’

Emma Gilchrist
desmog: November 3, 2014

An energy executive is weighing in on the federal review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion with a scathing letter that calls the National Energy Board’s review process “fraudulent” and a “public deception” — and calls for the province of British Columbia to undertake its own environmental assessment.

Marc Eliesen — who has 40 years of executive experience in the energy sector, including as a board member at Suncor — writes in his letter to the National Energy Board that the process is jury-rigged with a “pre-determined outcome.”

Eliesen is the former CEO of BC Hydro, former chair of Manitoba Hydro and has served as a deputy minister in seven different federal and provincial governments.

In his letter, Eliesen tells the National Energy Board (NEB) that he offered his expertise as an intervenor in good faith that his time would be well spent in evaluation Trans Mountain’s proposal.

“Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the board, through its decisions, is engaged in a public deception,” Eliesen writes. “Continued involvement with this process is a waste of time and effort, and represents a disservice to the public interest because it endorses a fraudulent process.”

Eliesen writes that he was dismayed when the oral cross-examination phase was removed from the Trans Mountain hearings. He notes that oral cross-examination has served as a critical part of all previous Section 52 oil pipeline hearings.

“It is my experience that when a proponent does not face the spectre of oral cross-examination, their written responses to interrogatories suffer from a lack of detail and accountability,” Eliesen writes. “Still, I was willing to see the results of the Information Request process the board promised would be sufficient.”

When those information requests came back, however, Eliesen lost all hope in the process.

The unwillingness of Trans Mountain to address most of my questions and the board’s almost complete endorsement of Trans Mountain’s decision has exposed this process as deceptive and misleading. Proper and professional public interest due diligence has been frustrated, leading me to the conclusion that this board has a predetermined course of action to recommend approval of the project and a strong bias in favour of the proponent.

In effect, this so-called public hearing process has become a farce, and this board a truly industry captured regulator.

A regulator is considered ‘captured’ when it turns into more of a industry facilitator, rather than a regulatory watchdog.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion proposal would triple the amount of oil the company ships to Burnaby and increase the number of oil tankers travelling through Vancouver Harbour and the Gulf Islands seven-fold.

(read the full article at desmog)

Marc Eliesen’s letter:

Marc Eliesen Letter of Withdrawal from Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion NEB process

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