APTN National News
CALGARY-Three panelists tasked with the National Energy Board with reviewing TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline have resigned from their posts.
The National Energy Board (NEB) issued a statement late Friday afternoon saying Energy East hearings would pause until a new panel is selected.
“All three panel members have decided to recuse themselves in order to preserve the integrity of the National Energy Board and of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline Review,” said the statement. “The members acted in good faith, and have pledged not to discuss these two applications with either other Board members or Board staff.”
The decision by the panelists to recuse themselves comes after the agency was hit by a conflict-of-interest scandal triggered by a National Observer report. The news website reported that two of the panelists met with former Quebec premier Jean Charest while he was an adviser to TransCanada, the company behind the project.
The chair and vice-chair of the NEB also stated they would be recusing themselves from any decisions related to Energy East because they were also involved in the Charest meeting.
The NEB was also recently forced to postpone hearings in Montreal as a result of protests.
The proposed 4,600 kilometre Energy East pipeline would cross the territories of about 155 First Nations. It is facing opposition from several of those communities.
If constructed, the $15 billion pipeline would pump 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Saint John, N.B., for refining and international exports.