Thursday, February 3, 2011
The National Energy Board has recently released the report of its Funding Review Committee on the allocation of $175,000 made available for participants in the Vantage Pipeline Project hearing. Six First Nations groups applied for more than $332,000 in funding based on budgets for participation in the approvals process. In spite of that request, only $175,000 was made available by the Chief Operating Officer of the Board, Pradeep Khare.
The NEB's Funding Review Committee (FRC) took the $175,000 and divided it up among the six applicants for funding, making a recommendation on the allocation to Khare. The FRC addresses in its report the question of how the groups are to participate with less than was sought in their budgets - the answer from the NEB is that they will need to focus on specific issues and/or work together to minimize costs.
It will be interesting to see what happens when private landowners become involved in project funding applications as well. Will additional funding be made available if there are more applicants? Or will the pie simply be cut up into smaller pieces? Clearly, the participant funding program created by the NEB and the federal government will not protect landowners from the costs associated with protecting their rights in pipeline and other project applications. Despite the program, they will continue to bear the costs of energy projects on their lands.
Read the NEB's Funding Report at: Funding Review Committee’s Report.