Update on the ongoing Trans Mountain detailed route process

May 2, 2017

The National Energy Board (NEB) released its project recommendation report for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project nearly one year ago. It was approved by the Government of Canada on November 29th, 2016, subject to 157 conditions imposed by the NEB.

The NEB’s recommendation was not the end of its role in the project, but one step in the NEB’s regulatory oversight of the pipeline. Our staff continue to verify compliance through the full life of the pipeline – from construction through to decommissioning – with safety of people and protection of the environment as primary concerns.

A lot of work remains to be done, both by the company and the NEB, before the pipeline can be built or operated.

To begin, the company must identify a specific location for the line and provide notice of the route to landowners and the public. It must also acquire necessary land rights from affected people or companies who own the land. If the proposed pipeline route crosses your lands, you will receive a notice directly.

This process is currently underway, though a lot of the route will be located within the same right-of-way as the original pipeline.

The company is also obligated to post notices in local newspapers, so that people who anticipate that their lands may be adversely affected may also oppose the detailed route.

The NEB does not expropriate lands, but in exceptional circumstances it can issue a Right of Entry Order to allow the company certain land rights on the designated right-of-way. Ownership of the lands remain with the landowner.

Once landowners have been directly served with a notice, and after the last notice has been posted in newspapers, there is a 30 day period in which to submit written objections to the company’s detailed route plans, including the location and methods or timing of construction. The 30 days for filing a Statement of Opposition vary along the route, based on when the notices were published and received. Many are expected to end in the following days and weeks.

Statements of Opposition can be filed electronically, by mail or by fax. Many people have already filed using these methods and we have received more than 130 statements with more arriving daily.

We have received concerns about the NEB’s electronic filing system (e-file) being difficult to use. We are open to this feedback as we continue to work to improve our systems, and we encourage those encountering difficulties to reach out to the NEB’s Process Advisory team. NEB Process Advisors are available to help people if they have any issues submitting their filings, and are reachable by phone (1-800-899-1265) during business hours or email: TMX.ProcessHelp@neb-one.gc.ca

The NEB is committed to accommodating anyone who’s having difficulty filing their statements, and encourages anyone intending on filing a statement to do so as soon as possible.

Statements that meet the requirements of the NEB Act will trigger a detailed route hearing, expected later this year. During a detailed route hearing, the NEB will consider whether the proposed detailed route is the best possible and that the most appropriate methods and timing of construction are being applied. The NEB cannot reconsider its recommendation for the project in this process.

I encourage you to use our website to learn more about the ongoing role that the NEB plays in regulatory oversight for the Trans Mountain project.

Sincerely,

Peter Watson,
Chair, NEB

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