Public comment needed by NEB on Trans Mountain regulatory approach
The National Energy Board (NEB) wants to hear from affected parties, the public and Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain) on how the NEB should proceed with regulatory processes for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project), including compliance with Project conditions and approval of the detailed route.
On June 18, 2019, the Government of Canada approved the Project. As directed, the NEB issued a Certificate and amendments to existing Certificates to Trans Mountain. The issuance of Certificates does not automatically reinstate previous NEB decisions or orders required for Trans Mountain to begin or resume construction of the Project. The NEB must now decide how regulatory processes for the Project will resume.
The NEB's proposed approach is to continue the processes that were underway, and to rely on decisions and orders that were issued prior to the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) decision on the Project in August 2018, unless relevant circumstances have materially changed.
The NEB is committed to doing its job in a way that is fair, efficient, and transparent to everyone involved. The NEB's intent is to minimize any potential burden on participants by not repeating processes unnecessarily, while at the same time, ensuring that it accounts for relevant circumstances that have material changes. The public may file comments online or via fax or mail, until July 5. Instructions on how to file are on the NEB's website. Trans Mountain's initial comment filing deadline is June 28, with its reply comments due on July 9. All comments received will be available on the NEB's website.
In order to provide clarity for Canadians on the next steps for the Project, the NEB intends to resolve this matter as efficiently as possible. Following the comment period, the NEB will decide how the regulatory processes will resume. Until that decision is made, Trans Mountain cannot rely on previously issued decisions and orders to start or resume Project construction.
The NEB is a full-lifecycle regulator that has over 60 years of experience regulating pipelines, power lines, energy development and trade for Canadians. Trans Mountain will be held to some of the strictest safety and environmental protection standards in the world. The NEB will ensure that construction is restarted safely and that the Project is built, operated and maintained properly to make sure people, communities and the environment are protected.
- Project Timeline:
- Trans Mountain applied for NEB approval of the Project in December 2013.
- The NEB released its Hearing Order in April 2014, and the Hearing concluded in February 2016.
- The NEB issued its Recommendation Report in May 2016 for the Project, recommending the Project be approved subject to 157 conditions.
- The Government of Canada approved the Project in November 2016.
- From December 2016 until the Federal Court of Appeal decision in August 2018, the NEB approved over 73% of the detailed route and found that 64 of 98 pre-construction conditions had been fully satisfied. This permitted Trans Mountain to commence construction at the Westridge Marine Terminal, certain temporary infrastructure sites, and portions of the pipeline route.
- On August 30, 2018, the Federal Court of Appeal decision set aside the Order in Council that approved the Project.
- On September 20, 2018, the Government of Canada directed the NEB to reconsider its recommendations as they related to project-related marine shipping.
- On February 22, 2019, the NEB released its Reconsideration Report. The NEB confirmed its recommendation that certificates should be issued for the Project, amended six conditions, and converted one condition into one of 16 recommendations to mitigate impacts from Project-related marine shipping, which the NEB does not regulate.
- On June 18, 2019, the Government of Canada approved the Project.