UPDATE 2-Canada says pipeline reviews proceed despite change to process

Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:36pm EST
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(Adds Greenpeace comment, Trudeau quote from August)

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA Nov 18 (Reuters) - Canada's environmental review of existing applications for crude oil pipeline projects is continuing despite the new Liberal government's plans to make the assessment process more robust, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said on Wednesday.

"They have not stopped. The process continues," he told reporters on a conference call.

"There will be a transition as we amend the ways in which the National Energy Board goes about the process of evaluating these projects, and we will announce those changes as soon as we can, but the process continues."

The Liberal government's pledge to toughen up the environmental review process for oil pipelines had raised the question of whether existing applications would require resubmission.

Key projects are TransCanada Corp's application for the Energy East pipeline to take oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the East Coast, and the expansion of Kinder Morgan Inc's Trans Mountain Pipeline to the Pacific.

Specifically addressing the Kinder Morgan application, Carr said the review was going ahead.

He appeared less clear when asked about Energy East: "I understand that any changes that we make to the process will have an effect on projects. I know that it's important, and we will be reviewing the situation and we will give you the results as soon as we can."   Continued...