Pipeline probe panel chosen

THE FEDERAL government has released the names of the three people who will conduct the environmental and regulatory review of a planned $4.5 billion pipeline meant to transport oil from Alberta to an export terminal at Kitimat.

The three operate under the auspices of the National Energy Board and are known as a joint review panel and they’ll hold sessions up and down the Northern Gateway route being proposed by Enbridge.

Enbridge is on the verge of filing its formal application with the National Energy Board (NEB) and its review is expected to take the better part of two years.

Environmental and native groups said early on that a review panel was inadequate and that only a formal public inquiry would suffice.

Among other things, they’ve said the prospect of damage from pipeline spills and oil tanker accidents outweigh any economic benefits.

Sheila A. Leggett will be the panel chair, and will be joined by members Hans Matthews and Kenneth Bateman.

Leggett has been a member of the NEB since 2006 and is currently Vice-Chair of the NEB. Prior to her position there, she was a board member with the Natural Resources Conservation Board which conducts hearings into natural resource development projects in Alberta.

She has chaired nine NEB regulatory panels.

Matthews is a professional geologist with 25 years in the mining, minerals and resource management industries. He has extensive background in Aboriginal community development and consultation within the mineral exploration industry.

Bateman is a Canadian energy lawyer and former senior executive in the Canadian energy sectory. He has been on the NEB since 2006. He has been involved in many land and off-shore pipeline hearings, including the Brunswick Pipeline Project.

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