Questions and Answers

Detailed Route Approval Process – Trans Mountain Expansion Project

  1. What has happened since the Detailed Route Process began?
  2. At what stage is Trans Mountain in the approval of the proposed detailed route for the pipeline?
  3. What is a PPBoR?
  4. Can the NEB approve the proposed detailed route in segments rather than in whole?
  5. How can I learn about Trans Mountain's application for the detailed route?
  6. Who can oppose the proposed detailed route of a pipeline?
  7. What is meant by "methods and timing of construction"?
  8. How do I oppose the proposed detailed route and how much time do I have to file my opposition?
  9. What happens after I file my statement of opposition?
  10. Is the information I file public? Does this to the Statement of Opposition?
  11. Can I participate in a detailed route hearing that deals with someone else’s lands?
  12. What if there is no opposition to the proposed detailed route?
  13. When can construction begin?
  14. Can Trans Mountain apply for a Right of Entry Order?

1. What has happened since the Detailed Route Process began?

Trans Mountain began the proposed detailed route process on 9 December 2016 when it filed  with the NEB for approval its proposed form of the Plan, Profile, and Book of Reference (PPBoR) [Filing A80988] and of its proposed section 34 notices for service and publication pursuant to section 33 and section 34 of the NEB Act, and section 50 of the National Energy Board Rules of Practice and Procedure, 1995. Trans Mountain also proposed to file its PPBoR in segments.

On 10 February 2017 [Filing A81698], the NEB approved Trans Mountain’s proposed section 34 notices and sample PPBoR with amendments, and direction for notice and publication requirements. Then Trans Mountain prepared and filed with the Board its actual PPBoR for each segment of the proposed detailed route, published notices in local newspapers along the route twice, and served written notice to landowners whose lands are proposed to be crossed by each segment of the route. These notices and publications included maps and a list of the lands proposed to be crossed by the pipeline. They also explained how to file statements of opposition (SOOs) to the proposed detailed route with the Board.

Per section 34 of the NEB Act, SOOs may be filed by people who anticipate that their lands may be adversely affected by the proposed detailed route of a pipeline, whether their lands are directly on the pipeline route or not. The SOOs must relate to the detailed route, methods of construction or the timing of construction in order to be valid.

When Trans Mountain’s last notice was published on 6 June 2017, a 30-day period began in which SOOs were to be filed with the Board.  Persons whose lands may be impacted by the proposed route must have filed a SOO within the 30-day period.

If a SOO meets these requirements, then the NEB will conduct a public hearing in the area where the relevant lands are located.  For information on who can oppose the proposed detailed route and the grounds that must be set out in the statement of opposition – see question 4 below.

By the end of July 2017, the Board received 452 SOOs from people, companies, municipalities, Indigenous groups or other organizations.

2. At what stage is Trans Mountain in the approval of the proposed detailed route for the pipeline?

Currently, the Board is assessing the statements of opposition it received and over the coming months, will be releasing Hearing Orders for those landowners or affected person who will be receiving a detailed route hearing.

3. What is a PPBoR?

The Plan, Profile, and Book of Reference (PPBoR) is made up of two documents. The Plan and Profile is a drawing of the pipeline as seen from above (aerial view) and from the side (profile view) showing the exact proposed location of the pipeline. The Book of Reference identifies the lands, provides the names of the landowners and land occupants, and shows the dimensions (length, width and total area) of the right-of-way required for the pipeline.

4. Can the NEB approve the proposed detailed route in segments rather than in whole?

Yes, the Board can approve a proposed detailed route in segments. For the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, Trans Mountain has stated it will file the PPBoR in segments. 

5. How can I learn about Trans Mountain's application for the detailed route?

You can find out more about the application by visiting www.neb-one.gc.ca/transmountainexpansion or by visiting the Trans Mountain Detailed Route RegDocs [Folder 3159938], which contains everything filed with the Board about the proposed detailed route.

6. Who can oppose the proposed detailed route of a pipeline?

Unless you are a landowner who has been recently served, the comment period for providing a statement of opposition has passed. If you are a landowner or affected person who was unable to provide a statement of opposition during the comment period, please contact a Process Advisor.

Previously you could oppose the proposed detailed route if you were a landowner who had been served with a notice about the detailed route of the pipeline. You could also oppose if you were a person who anticipates that your lands may be adversely affected by the proposed detailed route of the pipeline.

If you fell into one of the two categories above, you could oppose the proposed detailed route of the pipeline and the methods and timing of the construction of the pipeline.

The detailed route approval process takes into consideration issues related to the exact location, and methods and timing of construction of the pipeline.  It does not reconsider the NEB 's original decision for  the project.

As the section 52 Certificate for the project has been issued, concerns related to the project itself and not the route should be directed to Trans Mountain.

7. What is meant by "methods and timing of construction"?

Methods of construction describes such things as how the company plans to clear the pipeline right-of-way, remove and store the top soil, install the pipeline, and reclaim the lands. Timing of construction could refer to the time of year when the company plans to build the pipeline, and/or the length of time the construction is expected to last.

8. How do I oppose the proposed detailed route and how much time do I have to file my opposition?

As mentioned in #6, unless you are a landowner who has been recently served, the comment period for providing a statement of opposition has passed. If you are a landowner or affected person who was unable to provide a statement of opposition during the comment period, please contact a Process Advisor.

A statement of opposition must include:

  • your interest in the lands that will be crossed or adversely affected by the proposed route; and
  • your reasons for opposing the proposed detailed route which must focus only on  actual pipeline route location, methods of construction, and/or timing of construction of the pipeline.

The NEB Act sets out how much time you have to file your written statement of opposition. A person whose lands are crossed by the pipeline has 30 days from the date they are served notice of the proposed detailed route. A person who anticipates their lands may be adversely affected by the proposed detailed route of the pipeline has 30 days from the date of the last notice’s publication.

These timelines are fixed in the NEB Act so it is important for landowners to file their statements with the Board before the 30-day period expires.

9. What happens after I file my statement of opposition?

The NEB must conduct a detailed route hearing if, within the applicable 30-day period, a statement of opposition is filed containing the information as noted above (in question 6) that meets the requirements of the NEB Act.

If a statement of opposition is later withdrawn, the NEB does not have to hold a detailed route hearing. The NEB can reject statements of opposition that relate to issues outside of its jurisdiction (such as compensation), or that are found to be frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith.

For more information about compensation, see NEB Landowner Guide Chapter 7: Compensation for Land Use.

10. Is the information I file public? Does this apply to the statement of opposition?

Yes, all information provided to the NEB is considered on the public record and is not confidential. This includes statements of opposition and any supporting documents, such as land drawings. 

When submitting files online through www.neb-one.gc.ca/efile, there is a privacy disclaimer that must be read and understood before anyone submits a file to the Board. This also applies to documents submitted by mail or fax. It reads:

“The Board is authorized to collect, use and disclose personal information in the context of any Board proceeding. Except where confidentiality is granted, all information and documents submitted to the Board as an individual or on behalf of other individuals will be made public. Additionally, any contact information provided may be used to contact you or serve documents on you. 

Under the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Regulations Specifying Publicly Available Information state that personal information in a record of a quasi-judicial body (like the Board) is publicly available without consent, provided that the collection, use and disclosure of that information relates directly to the purpose for which the information appears in the record. 

Please read our Important Notices for more information about privacy.”

In some circumstances, the NEB can grant permission for specific filings to be provided confidentially. For this to be done, the person must make a request to the NEB for permission to do so. More information on confidential filing is available here. However, confidential filings are only used for specific pieces of information and are not common during a typical proceeding.

11. Can I participate in a detailed route hearing that deals with someone else’s lands?

Anyone with a legitimate interest may apply to the NEB to participate in the detailed route hearing. You must follow the requirements as described in the Hearing Order that the Board issues for the detailed route hearing. The NEB will decide whether you will to be allowed to participate.

12. What if there is no opposition to the proposed detailed route?

The NEB may approve the PPBoR for those segments of the proposed detailed route that do not have any filed statements of opposition. Trans Mountain will then file the NEB-approved PPBoR with the offices of the appropriate registrar of deeds (or land titles).  Following this Trans Mountain can begin construction on those approved segments of the detailed route.

13. When can construction begin?

Construction of the pipeline in any non-approved segment cannot proceed until the Board approves that segment and the NEB’s approval is filed in the offices of the appropriate registrar of deeds (or land titles). Approval by the Board could result from a settlement made between the landowner and the company or through a Board decision after a detailed route hearing as discussed above.

14. Can Trans Mountain apply for a Right of Entry Order?

Trans Mountain may apply in writing to the NEB asking for a right of entry (ROE) order that would allow them to have an immediate right to enter the lands. If the NEB grants the right of entry order, Trans Mountain must make payment to the landowner and then it has to register, record or file that order at the local land titles or registry office.

Trans Mountain must provide written notice to the landowner if it plans to apply to the NEB for the right of entry to their property. The company must prove to the NEB that it served the landowner with a notice no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days from the date that it will apply to the NEB.

For more information on ROE, see NEB Landowner Guide Chapter 8: Right of Entry.

DETAILED ROUTE APPROVAL PROCESS

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