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Canada's energy regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), has dismissed a legal motion requesting that it consider all climate change impacts in its latest review of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline and tanker expansion project.
In a decision released on Tuesday, the regulator ruled out the motion from the environmental organization Stand.earth to "meaningfully consider the general impact" on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change associated with oil that would be transported on the proposed pipeline.
A separate NEB panel made an entirely different decision in 2017, requiring a larger evaluation of climate change impacts, during its review of the proposed Energy East pipeline, a project that was later terminated by its proponent, TransCanada.
The Trans Mountain project would expand an existing pipeline system, tripling capacity to transport up to 890,000 barrels of bitumen and other petroleum products from Alberta to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
This is the second time the NEB has been asked to review the Trans Mountain expansion project. The Trudeau government requested that it conduct this new review following a Federal Court of Appeal ruling in August that quashed the 2016 federal approval of the project.
The federal regulator said in its ruling that its reconsideration is designed only to address issues arising out of the Federal Court of Appeal ruling in August that set aside its previous approval.
It says Stand.earth's proposal missed its deadlines and repeated requests made by several other parties that had already been denied.
In a news release, Stand.earth says the NEB decision breaks an election pledge made in 2015 by the Liberals to give all energy projects a full climate review.
"The National Energy Board has denied this motion because the Trudeau government specifically excluded climate change impacts from a full review of this pipeline," said international program director Tzeporah Berman.
with files from The Canadian Press
Editor's note: This article was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET on Feb. 20, 2019 with additional background and comments from the NEB and Stand.Earth.