OTTAWA, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The Canadian government announced an extension of time for reviewing and deciding on whether to let two key crude oil pipelines go ahead, in an attempt to spur deeper consultations and an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions.
The interim rules are designed to take greater account of environmental impacts and indigenous groups' points of view for the two pipelines, which are opposed by environmentalists and some communities but backed by industry.
It pushes back the deadline for the government to decide on Kinder Morgan Inc's plan to twin its Trans Mountain Pipeline to December 2016 from August 2016, signaling that the review by the National Energy Board (NEB) will still be due by May.
It also extends the total period for the NEB review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada Corp's Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months. The clock will begin ticking when the NEB starts the hearing process.
The government also announced a set of interim rules, including assessing greenhouse gas emissions, for all major projects, including LNG terminals. (Reporting by Randall Palmer and Leah Schnurr; Editing by Alan Crosby)