So many people have put their faith in the hearings that the National Energy Board conducts as a way to decide whether or not we get more pipelines.
But today’s audit shows that what’s going on behind the scenes is something we should be concerned about.
Out of 49 different situations that he audit looked at,things that the NEB was supposed to be monitoring or inspecting – a total of 24 projects had incomplete or missing paperwork.
There have been people out there saying this all along. One of them is Marc Elieson.
A captured regulator
In 2014 Eliesen, a senior energy executive who once served as CEO of BC Hydro, quit his role as an intervenor in the federal review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker expansion project, calling the National Energy Board “a truly captured regulator.”
Eliesen has worked in the nation’s energy sector for 40 years. In addition to running the nation’s largest hydro utilities, he served in a variety of senior positions in both federal and provincial governments of all stripes, including as Ontario’s deputy minister of energy. Now retired and living in Whistler, B.C., Eliesen resigned from his intervenor responsibilities after the board repeatedly demonstrated what he called a “lack of respect for hearing participants,” as well as a disregard for “the standards and practices of natural justice that previous boards have respected.”
Elisen has read the audit by the federal environment commissioner, Julie Gelfand. What are his thoughts on what it revealed?
“I’m not surprised. For the background of your listeners, this is the second audit undertaken by the auditor general’s office, the environmental commissioner of that office.”
He says the last one was done in 2011, and there were similar results. The NEB wasn’t doing it’s job.
“Now we have a new audit…and it’s as if nothing has changed. they do a very poor job of monitoring.”
“The National Energy Board does not evaluate or monitor pipeline projects in the public interest.It does it for the industry, so it’s an industry facilitator.”
He says he got out in 2014 because it didn’t look after the environmental interests or the public interests.
Eliesen says he thinks the industry has escalated so much over the past five or six years that the board has lost credibility.He says the interveners who stayed are now saying the same thing.
“The process is broken, factors involved a lack of cross-examination, the failure to test evidence in the public, the narrowness of the scope, the denial of standing to so many citizens, and on and on.”
He says the system needs to be re-done to have a broader representation of people.