Tar Sands Pipeline to BC Delayed
The Calgary Herald reports that approval of TransCanada’s Plan B for Keystone XL – the Northern Gateway pipeline to the British Columbia coast – will be delayed at least until 2013. The joint review panel that is collecting information about the proposal had originally planned to release its environmental assessment and make a decision in 2012, but that timeline has changed. With 4300 intervenors submitting comments, the panel has a heavy burden to review all the information before it. TransCanada declines to speculate on whether this delay will push back the target operational date of 2017 for Northern Gateway.
This delay lends legitimacy to the U.S. State Department’s decision to lengthen its own review and approval timeline. The pipeline projects affect vast distances and raise complex issues. Consideration cannot be rushed. With the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL decisions now expected around the same time, the politics can only get more interesting. It also seems possible that analysis done on each project will begin to cross over and inform review in the other country.