B.C. pipeline review needed to restore legal powers

Last week, NDP leader Adrian Dix announced his commitment to a “made in B.C.” environmental review of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. As an adviser to Dix on this issue, I wish to explain the legal considerations behind this decision. In 2010, the B.C. Liberals signed an “equivalency agreement” with Ottawa, which said, in effect, that an environmental assessment of the Enbridge pipeline and tanker proposal carried out by the Harper government’s joint review panel would constitute a B.C. environmental assessment as well. (It is important to note that the word “joint” does not refer to a joint review conducted by Canada and B.C. It refers, instead, to a joint review undertaken by two federal agencies, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.)

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