The National Energy Board (NEB) has released a hearing order setting out next steps and schedule as well as requests for information from Trans Mountain and Federal Authorities required for its reconsideration of aspects of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project pertaining to project-related marine shipping.
The hearing schedule includes filing deadlines starting in October, Oral Traditional Evidence by Indigenous groups in November/December and the potential for oral summary argument in January 2019.
"The NEB's hearing will be a comprehensive scientific and technical examination of project-related marine shipping. Today's announcement is a key step in moving this hearing forward and collecting the evidence that the NEB needs to reconsider aspects of our 2016 recommendation report as the Government of Canada has directed," said Dr. Robert Steedman, Chief Environment Officer, National Energy Board.
The schedule responds to the Government of Canada's direction for the NEB to reconsider aspects of its May 2016 recommendation report - related to the application of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) and the Species at Risk Act to project-related marine shipping - and to complete the reconsideration process and issue its resulting report no later than February 22, 2019.
The hearing order and related letters follow requests for comments on, among other things, the hearing process, the draft amended factors and scope of the factors for the environmental assessment under the CEAA 2012, the draft list of issues to be considered, and the spatial limit of project-related marine shipping.
Input gathered from the comment periods assisted the NEB in determining that project-related shipping between the Westridge Marine Terminal and the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea limit will be included as part of the designated project to be assessed under the CEAA 2012.
- Over the application to participate period (Sept. 26-Oct. 3) the NEB received 124 applications for intervenor status; the NEB granted intervenor status to 76 applicants that were intervenors in the original Trans Mountain Expansion Project hearing and granted 23 new applicants intervenor status.
- In May, 2016 the NEB recommended that the Federal government approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project subject to 157 conditions. The Federal Government approved the project in November 2016.
- The NEB was involved in various aspects of regulatory oversight of the project from December, 2016 to August, 2018, including determining the detailed route and a variety of condition compliance activities.
- On August 30, 2018, a Federal Court of Appeal decision quashed the Order in Council approving the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and nullified the Certificate issued by the NEB for the project.
- Ongoing NEB processes directly related to the Trans Mountain Expansion project, including consideration of condition compliance filings, Right of Entry applications and detailed route hearing processes, have ceased. The NEB also expects Trans Mountain to safely cease all construction activity in a manner that minimizes environmental impact.
On Sept. 20, 2018, the Government of Canada directed the NEB to reconsider its recommendations as they are relevant to project-related marine shipping. The Government directed this work to be completed within 155 days.