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NEB issues ruling on permitting process and addresses Trans Mountain

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World Pipelines,

The National Energy Board (NEB) announced yesterday a process to resolve potential future permitting disputes between Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain) and provincial and municipal authorities for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Specifically, the NEB has set out 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 authorisations.

Under this process, it will take approximately three to five weeks to reach a decision from the time a request is filed with the NEB. The full text of the ruling (Filing A89357) is posted on the NEB’s website.

The NEB believes this generic process will provide a measure of certainty regarding the regulatory tools available to resolve permitting disputes or disagreements in limited circumstances where Trans Mountain and provincial and municipal authorities are unable to do so.

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 today released its reasons for issuing Order MO-057-2017 (Filing A88474) on 7 December 2017, which involved a notice of constitutional question. This order declared that Trans Mountain was not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws as it begins building the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

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. The full text of the reasons (Filing A899360) is also posted on the NEB’s website.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern.

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