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    Canada Delays Decision on TC Energy Expansion


Cabinet will now rule on C$2.3bn expansion by October

by: Dale Lunan

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Canada Delays Decision on TC Energy Expansion

The government of Canada has delayed until October a final decision on TC Energy’s $2.3bn (US$1.7bn) Nova Gas Transmission Ltd 2021 System Expansion project (NGTL 2021) citing an inability to consult appropriately with affected First Nations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a May 19 ministerial statement, Natural Resources Canada minister Seamus O’Regan said consultations with indigenous peoples have been delayed due to lockdowns, and some indigenous groups have requested more time so they can properly participate in the process.

“To ensure there is sufficient time to fulfil this constitutional obligation, while respecting public health and safety precautions, the Governor in Council (GiC) has extended the timeline so that a decision on NGTL 2021 can be made no later than October 19, 2020,” O’Regan said in the statement. “The government of Canada’s focus will remain on fulfilling our duty to meaningfully consult in a safe and responsible manner. For example, where possible, we have converted to videoconferencing and teleconferencing.”

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) delivered a report to the government in February recommending approval of the NGTL 2021 expansion plan, subject to 34 conditions. Under the federal government’s controversial Bill C-69, the CER can only make recommendations regarding major energy projects; final determination and approval rests with the federal cabinet.