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Change to Trans Mountain Expansion Project’s route hearings

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World Pipelines,

This week, the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) announced several procedural changes to the remaining detailed route hearings for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and advice from federal and provincial authorities aimed at protecting public health.

The oral portions of all detailed route hearings will be replaced with alternate formats not requiring in-person attendance. The changes will allow detailed route hearings to proceed in a fair and transparent manner, while respecting the physical distance requirements for participants.

The CER first announced on 16 March 2020 that oral portions of all ongoing public hearings would not proceed as planned as a result of the pandemic.

Oral cross-examination in the detailed route hearings will be replaced by written information requests. Site visits will not proceed. Participants will instead be able to file photos or videos as part of their evidence.

The deadlines for filing information requests and evidence are found in the Procedural Direction online. Details about the reply evidence and argument phases will be communicated at a later time.

The Commission has also issued a letter to the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance seeking comments on alternate ways of sharing their Indigenous knowledge.

The Project was approved by the Government of Canada in June 2019, and construction is permitted in areas where applicable conditions have been satisfied and the detailed route of the pipeline has been approved. Currently, 70% of the pipeline’s detailed route has been approved.

Quick facts

  • There are currently 22 active detailed route hearings remaining, located in portions of southwestern British Columbia, stretching from Merritt through to Burnaby.
  • Since the hearings for segments 5, 6 and 7 were announced in January 2020, five statements of opposition have been completely or partially withdrawn, and respective hearings cancelled.
  • In early April 2020, the Commission issued one detailed route hearing decision (for two statements of opposition) and a decision on a review of previously issued decision for lands in Segment 5.
  • Trans Mountain is proceeding with construction of the Project, with active construction focused at the Westridge and Burnaby terminals. Pipeline construction in Alberta is largely paused for spring thaw and break up, and there is no active pipeline construction in British Columbia at this time. The company is also not currently housing workers in construction camps.

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