An expert intervener for the National Energy Board (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project has withdrawn from that process and left a scathing critique on her way out the door.
Robyn Allan, an economist, former interim ICBC CEO, and long-time critic of the proposed pipeline expansion, left the NEB review on May 19 and subsequently made public a letter she sent to the board explaining her move.
“The review is not conducted on a level playing field,” Allan wrote. “The Panel is not an impartial referee. The game is rigged; its outcome predetermined by a captured regulator. The NEB’s integrity has been compromised. Its actions put the health and safety of the Canadian economy, society and environment in harm’s way.
“The NEB has unconscionably betrayed Canadians through a restricted scope of issues, violated the rules of procedural fairness and natural justice, and biased its decision-making in favour of Kinder Morgan.”
The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that Kinder Morgan has proposed would triple the current amount of diluted bitumen transported from the Alberta tar sands to the Lower Mainland, increasing the number of oil tankers moving through Metro Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet from 60 to 400 ships per year.
The NEB is a federal body tasked with regulating the construction and operation of pipelines and other forms of energy infrastructure. It also conducts environmental assessments.
Its review of the Kinder Morgan project has also been criticized by the City of Vancouver. In May 2014, deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston gave a presentation that expressed concerns related to “unreasonable timelines” and a “lack of public input”.
The NEB has refuted claims of bias and insisted its process for review is fair.
Allan described her participation in the NEB’s review of the Kinder Morgan proposal as lending legitimacy to a body that is failing to meet its mandate and responsibilities to the public.
“The NEB is not a national energy board,” Allan wrote. “It is a parochial board steeped in Calgary petro culture, run by corporate interests.
“Continued participation endorses a broken system and enables the pretence of due process where none exists.”