FER Intervenor Response to Government of Canada Information Request Answers

Posted August 13, 2015 | Categories : 300,Federal Stewardship,Marine Reserves,Oil Spill Threat |

In July we filed Information Requests to the Government of Canada Departments noted below. As a result of their answers to our requests,  we filed a motion to provide full and adequate answers after an unsatisfactory response. This is our final response to their response to our motion to compel.

The National Energy Board filing A71853.


National Energy Board
517 Tenth Avenue SW Calgary,
Alberta T2R 0A8
August 13, 2015
Attention: Sheri Young, Secretary of the Board
Dear Ms. Young:
Re: Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project and IR to Government of Canada (G of C) by the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves.

The Board of Friends of Ecological Reserve has reviewed G of C responses to our information requests and motion to compel complete answers. Our information requests were to Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We are filing our final statement in the attachment to this cover letter and provide our final statement on these Department’s responses to our motion. We are deeply disappointed by the dismisal of our concerns and we still have outstanding issues and inadequate information.

We appreciate the support from the NEC with regard to the existing shipping routes and risks to environmental and public safety through potential minor route changes (IR 1.3). The person who is responsible for dismissing the Board of FER concerns is Gina Aitchison the Senior Environmental Officer, Environmental Services Transport Canada / Government of Canada / Tel: 604-666-1741 / Cell: 604-809-5146. We look forward to her added rational and sincerely hope for new information from Transport Canada and that there is a future commitment to make an incremental improvement in changes to shipping routes to lower risk to the public and environment.

Even though NEB has not supported any other request to other departments of G of C,  the Board hopes the NEB will on its own initiative also follow-up with Natural Resources Canada with regard to the questions we have raised on cooperation and those which  did not receive full and complete answers.

The person who dismissed the Board of FER request to Natural Resources Canada is Aruna Rajulu Strategic Projects Secretariat Major Projects Management Office Natural Resources Canada/ Tel: 613-697-9198 We continue to look for cooperative arrangements between Non-Government Organizations who seek to work cooperatively with staff at Natural Resources Canada. We do not believe our IR to be out of scope.

We thank Environment Canada Staff for their transparent responses to the IR requests we raised. We look forward to working with Environment Canada over the life of this project should it be approved.

We also remain optimistic that NEB will on its own initiative follow-up with Department of Fisheries and Oceans with regard to the information requests in the attached summary. We remain concerned that the Information Requests to DFO remain unanswered. The person who has dismissed the Board of FER information requests in the DFO is Bonnie Antcliffe, Regional Director Ecosystem Management Branch Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Filer of 2 the response to the Board of FER information request is Alston Bonamis, Fisheries Biologist, Fisheries Protection Program, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Government of Canada

Dismissal of our information requests with a the repeated blanket statement that “DFO is of the view that its response to the information request is complete and adequate” remains unsatisfactory. Although the details of all IR dismissed are in the attachment we provide a few examples in this cover letter.

The written evidence presented by DFO presents many examples of where baseline data is absent or insufficient. Also a problem of inability to provide a straight forward yes or no answer is evident with the IR #15 when we posed the following:

Another concern of the Sufficiency Report was the collision with large cetaceans. Concern for this has not been mentioned in the written evidence of DFO. Please explain why and what measures are being proposed to address this problem?”

The Response of DFO was that : “Subsection of the written evidence of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (NEB Document No. A4L7D4) discusses the Department’s views on potential Project-related marine mammal- vessel collisions. Alteration of shipping lanes and vessel speed have been suggested by the Proponent as potential mitigation measures. Implementation of similar measures in the Marine RSA may further reduce the likelihood of mammal vessel collision for Project-related vessels and other marine vessels transiting through the Marine RSA.”

Our reply to that response is “This is not an adequate response”. FER Rational on why this response is not adequate: DFO has responsibility for an endangered species and our information request is what if anything is DFO prepared to do in light of increasing tanker traffic? The proponent has suggested changes to tanker speed to decrease probable causes of mortality. Will DFO provide advice to the NEB on tanker speed so that this can be included as KM-TMX condition?”

Using phrases such as ” potential mitigation measure” and” Implementation of similar measures in the Marine RSA may further reduce the likelihood of mammal vessel collision” provides no assurance that DFO will in fact exercise its responsibility and require these measures. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

On behalf of the Board of the Friends of Ecological Reserves
Mike Fenger– President of Friends of Ecological Reserves
Garry Fletcher– Intervenor for Board of the Friends of Ecological Reserves.

Attachment: Final Table summarizing dialogue on IR between Board of FER and Government of Canada.