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Energy East review needs complete restart, environmental group argues in National Energy Board filing

Environmental groups are calling for the Energy East pipeline review process to start from scratch following the National Energy Board's formal appointment of the new members of the review panel.

Decisions made by prior panel members tainted, Transition Initiative Kenora says

A Canadian environmental group is set to file a legal challenge against the NEB's regulatory review of the proposed Energy East pipeline. (CBC)

Environmental groups are calling for the Energy East pipeline review process to start from scratch following the National Energy Board's formal appointment of the new members of the review panel.

Transition Initiative Kenora has filed a notice of motion with the energy board arguing that all decisions made by the three prior panel members were tainted after they stepped down amidst questions about a potential conflict of interest last year.

The group, which filed a motion last year to have the prior panel members removed, says the members who stepped down sat on the Energy East panel for almost two years and made dozens of procedural and substantive decisions in the review process.

The notice of motion calls for the current Energy East process to be declared void, or to refer the issue to the Federal Court of Appeal.

TransCanada Corp.'s proposed pipeline project, which would carry 1.1 million barrels a day from Alberta through Quebec to an export terminal in Saint John, N.B. (Canadian Press)

The Energy East hearings were stalled last fall after NEB chairman Peter Watson and vice-chair Lyne Mercier were accused of a conflict of interest for meeting privately with a paid consultant for the pipeline's backer, TransCanada, to discuss public opinion around the controversial project.

The new three-member panel consists of Don Ferguson, a former senior civil servant in New Brunswick, Carole Malo, a former vice-president at engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, and Marc Paquin, a Quebec-based lawyer focused on environmental law.

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