The National Energy Board’s joint review panel into the proposed Enbridge pipeline approved a request from Nathan Cullen, MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley, to cross-examine Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials at the JRP hearings.
“My questioning will be specific to the role of the federal government,” Cullen said.
“The response of DFO to the Panel’s requests for comment and risk assessment has been disappointing and in need of clarification.
“I expect to get such clarification through my questions.”
Specifically, Cullen said he wanted clarification on how the Fisheries Act applies to the proposed Enbridge pipeline in relation to habitat loss and protection and water crossings.
The joint review panel, however, denied Cullen’s request to cross examine officials from other federal government agencies, including the departments of the environment, natural resources and transportation.
“These departments hold key aspects to the public’s understanding of the project and the government’s role in the process,” a frustrated Cullen said.
“Their responses to the questions I seek to ask are important to my constituents and to all Canadians.
“The full impact of the proposed project will be difficult to know if the hard questions cannot be asked.”
Cullen, NDP House Leader, said he and his Official Opposition colleagues continue to question the Conservative government on the Enbridge project in Parliament.
“The government should still answer these questions, unless they know that Canadians won’t like the answers.”
The technical phase of the Enbridge JRP hearings began in Edmonton two weeks ago, focusing on economic issues.
Hearings into the design and safety aspects of the proposed pipeline are scheduled for Prince George in October, followed by hearings in Prince Rupert examining the transport and marine safety aspects of the project.
Cullen is scheduled to question government witnesses by telephone in Prince George mid-October and in person in Prince Rupert during the November 22-30 sitting days.
Technical hearings are scheduled to end in Prince Rupert on Dec. 18.
Final arguments will take place in March and April 2013.