Energy regulators should not be playing a role in environmental assessment

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity will forgive me for correcting some of what he may believe actually happened but is revisionist history.

In 2012, it was the previous Conservative government that, for the first time ever, proposed that the offshore boards, the NEB, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission should oversee environmental assessments. The Conservatives did not get around to the regulatory changes to put the offshore boards in that position.

I never thought I would see the day that the Liberals, who had railed against those changes in opposition and voted against them, would come into power and then proceed to make the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board responsible authorities under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

My friend will know I disagree with this step. It is not with disrespect for the Newfoundland agency. It is because, by law, that regulator has a responsibility and a mandate to expand offshore oil and gas. It has a statutory conflict of interest, and it is probably the most objectionable part of an objectionable act that the regulator is playing a role in environmental assessment.

Churence Rogers – Member for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, I totally disagree with her perspective on that issue. These organizations, the CNLOPB and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, bring to this process of future development a lot of experience, expertise, and knowledge.

For all the years of work that have gone on in Newfoundland and Labrador, the CNLOPB has made a tremendous contribution to the offshore oil and gas industry. We all want to protect our environment, but that experience cannot just be tossed aside. We need these people at the table.