NEB issues ruling on dispute resolution between Trans Mountain and local governments

Project said to be in the public interest but company is required to comply with municipal laws

The National Energy Board (NEB) announced Thursday a dispute resolution process to resolve conflicts between Trans Mountain Pipeline and provincial and municipal authorities regarding the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP).

In moving forward with the long-planned and controversial pipeline, Kinder Morgan Canada came up against some municipal opposition, particularly from the City of Burnaby, regarding permitting.

Environmental groups, some First Nations and the provincial NDP under now-Premier John Horgan have also long opposed the $7.4-billion pipeline twinning running 1,100 kilometres from Alberta to port in Burnaby.

On Oct. 26, 2017, Trans Mountain filed a notice of motion and notice of constitutional question asking the NEB to issue an order declaring that certain sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws do not apply to work the company wants to carry out at the Westridge Marine Terminal.

The NEB received written comments opposing the motion from the Attorney General of British Columbia, the City of Chilliwack, the City of Surrey, Katzie First Nation and the Township of Langley.

The NEB received comments in support from the Attorney General of Canada and the Province of Alberta.

On Jan. 18, the NEB issued its ruling with a “generic process to consider future requests relating to a Project condition that binds Trans Mountain to its commitment to apply for, or seek variance from, all required provincial and municipal permits and authorizations,” the NEB said in a press release.

“The NEB expects all sides to approach permitting processes in good faith. While the Project has been determined to be in the public interest, Trans Mountain is still required to comply with applicable provincial and municipal laws. Trans Mountain is also expected to exercise good project planning and allow sufficient time to properly engage provinces and municipalities.”

The NEB also released written reasons for issuing an order in December that declared Trans Mountain was not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws as it begins building the TMEP.

The sections of the bylaws in question required Trans Mountain to obtain preliminary plan approvals and tree cutting permits for project-related work at Trans Mountain’s Burnaby Terminal, Westridge Marine Terminal, and at a nearby temporary infrastructure site.

Kinder Morgan stated this week that the project, once set to be completed by 2019, is one year behind.


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