A private meeting between Energy East reviewers and a TransCanada consultant last year is at the heart of a decision made by the National Energy Board to remove the members of the panel tasked with ruling on a proposed oil pipeline.
Media reports revealed that vice-chair Lynne Mercier and board member Jacques Gauthier met privately with former Quebec premier Jean Charest, a paid consultant for TransCanada Corporation at the time. Both Mercier and Gauthier had been assigned to the Energy East hearings.
Board chairman Peter Watson has also had his duties limited by the national energy regulator.
Hearings into the proposed 4,500-kilometre oil pipeline were suspended late last month by the National Energy Board.
More than 50 environmental and governance advocates called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to start over with reviews of Energy East and proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia.
In responce, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said that an overhaul is slated for the future, but existing major oil infrastructure bids will be assessed under current laws.