November 7, 2016 / 8:37 PM / 9 months ago

Canada energy regulator reform plan expected by March 2017: source

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A new Canadian panel that is looking at how to reform the national energy regulator will have until the end of March 2017 to hand over recommendations to the government, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The body examining the future of the National Energy Board (NEB) initially was supposed to report back by end-January 2017, but that was pushed back amid delays choosing members. The panel will be announced in the coming days, said the source who declined to be identified as the matter is not yet public.

The panel is part of the government's bid to revamp what is says is a discredited process of environmental assessments for major energy projects. The NEB, which critics say is too close to the energy industry, currently has the lead responsibility for determining the potential impacts of projects.

Last month, sources said Ottawa could curb the NEB's power, including stripping it of sole oversight for new projects.

A separate panel looking into the future of environmental assessments will produce significant proposals for change, the head of the body said last week.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alan Crosby

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