Members of the Joint Review Panel listen to evidence at the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review in BC, January, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Robin Rowland
OTTAWA - The clock is ticking on the regulatory review panel's recommendation on the Northern Gateway pipeline, as the feds set a drop-dead date for the final report on the project.
In a letter to panellists, Environment Minister Peter Kent and National Energy Board chairman Gaetan Caron say the final report on the project "must be submitted no later than December 31, 2013."
That's about the time the panel estimated it would have passed on its recommendation to the feds anyway.
The now firm deadline comes as a result of the March federal budget that placed new maximum timelines on reviews for major resource projects and simplified the regulatory approval process.
It's expected the feds would issue a decision on Enbridge's Northern Gateway project within about six months of getting the review panel's final report.
The proposed pipeline would connect the oilsands in Alberta to a new tanker port in Kitimat, on the northern coast of B.C., for shipment to Asia.
Northern Gateway has become a political hot potato in B.C. where Premier Christy Clark has demanded a "fair share" of oil revenues from the project among five conditions to get her government's support.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford has rejected the idea of sharing oil royalties.