The full Joint Review Panel hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline are tentatively set to open in Kitimat in mid-January, 2012.
Knowledgable energy industry insider sources confirmed the likely dates and that the bulk of the hearings will take place in Kitimat to Northwest Coast Energy News Friday after a number of the participants in this week’s National Energy Board hearings on the KM LNG pipeline made inquiries locally about booking meeting rooms and hotel accommodation for several weeks in a stretch, beginning in early January, 2012.
The Joint Review website says: “The Panel will start meeting with participants on 10 January 2012 at locations to be determined.” During last winter’s National Energy Board pre-briefing on this week’s LNG hearings, NEB staff said the location to be determined was always chosen to provide the best opportunity for those involved to speak before the board. While there were fears in Kitimat that the LNG hearings would be held Alberta, those fears proved to be unfounded.
The Joint Review panel is now traveling across BC offering information sessions to the public.
Updated schedule here. It is highly likely that hearings, like the information sessions, will be held in as many locales as possible, but those will likely be mostly about local issues, with the bulk of the concerns before the Joint Review Panel hearings in Kitimat.
A NEB source cautioned that dates are always tentative due to other hearings, staff commitments (some of the KM LNG NEB staff are also assigned to the Northern Gateway hearings) and, as sometimes happens, the lawyers agreeing on postponements.
According to the official website:
The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board. The Panel will assess the environmental effects of the proposed project and review the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.
The Joint Review panel has much wider powers to hear issues than the NEB did this week in the KM LNG hearings, where the only issue on the table was the partnership’s application for a natural gas export licence.