Trans Mountain CEO says pipe construction could restart in 2019 on NEB timeline

CALGARY — The president and CEO of Trans Mountain Corp. says its sidelined pipeline project could be back on track by next year under a new National Energy Board hearing schedule, setting it up for a possible 2022 opening date.

The timeline unveiled by the federal pipeline regulator on Wednesday is “reasonable and fair,” said Ian Anderson, the former CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada who became head of the resulting Crown corporation when Ottawa closed its $4.5-billion purchase of the pipeline and its expansion project in early September.

He told reporters in Calgary it’s possible construction that was halted when the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the expansion project’s NEB approval in late August could be restarted in 2019.

“Sure, it’s possible,” he said. “If things go according to the timeline that’s been now started with the NEB and they have a recommendation by the middle of February and the government takes a few months for additional consultation, an order-in-council could be as early as next summer.”

He added construction is expected to take about 30 months, depending upon seasonal adjustments, which would mean the pipeline could be operational in 2022, about two years later than the most recent predicted in-service date.

The federal government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in November 2016, following a recommendation by the NEB.

But the court cited insufficient consultation with Indigenous communities and a failure to assess the environmental impact of additional oil-tanker traffic in overturning that ruling.

Last week, the federal government ordered the NEB to go back and conduct a review of tanker traffic, paying special attention to the affect on killer whales, and issue its report no later than Feb. 22.

Environmentalists were quick to criticize the NEB’s schedule, which calls for public comments by next Wednesday on draft factors for the environmental assessment, the draft list of issues to be considered in the hearing and on the design of the hearing process itself.

Indigenous groups who are affected by the marine shipping issues but weren’t allowed to engage in the previous NEB process because of scope limits might have a difficult time preparing submissions in time, said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.

“Indigenous consultations are inextricably intertwined with review of marine impacts — orcas have important cultural significance — so charging ahead on this before sorting out the Indigenous consultation piece seems like a mistake,” he added.

Furthermore, the process is tainted by the fact that the government insists the project it now owns will be built no matter what, Stewart said.

The expansion will include a new pipeline running roughly parallel to the existing, 1,150-kilometre line that carries refined and unrefined oil products from the Edmonton area to Burnaby, B.C.

It will nearly triple the capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

The NEB named Lyne Mercier, Alison Scott and Murray Lytle to the panel that will conduct its reconsideration of the project.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

 

 

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Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Approved By B.C. Government

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Premier Christy Clark announced that the provincial government has issued an environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The Canadian Press| Jan 11, 2017

VICTORIA – British Columbia granted environmental approval on Wednesday to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The federal government gave its approval for Kinder Morgan Canada’s $6.8-billion expansion of the pipeline late last year after the National Energy Board recommended it go ahead if 157 conditions are met.

Premier Christy Clark recently said five conditions the province placed on the project were close to being met. She said the government was still working with Ottawa on spill response and it was preparing to negotiate an economic benefits package with Kinder Morgan that reflects B.C.’s risks associated with the pipeline and increased tanker traffic.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline, which runs from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and increases tanker traffic seven-fold.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman acknowledge in a news release that the energy board has the primary responsibility for ensuring the project is developed, constructed and operated in a safe and secure manner.

B.C.’s approval comes with 37 conditions on top of the energy board’s requirements, including the consultation of aboriginal groups, the development of a species-at-risk plan, and that a plan is established to mitigate and monitor the impact of the project on grizzly bears.

The provincial government also wants research conducted on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oils spilled in freshwater and marine aquatic environments to provide spill responders with improved information.

The ministers were required to release their decision on the project by this month to comply with a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province needed to conduct its own environmental assessment instead of relying on the National Energy Board process.

They said the province looked where it could improve the project by adding conditions.

“Clearly, the project will have economic benefits for British Columbia workers, families and communities,” the ministers said in the statement. “However, we have always been clear economic development will not come at the expense of the environment. We believe environmental protection and economic development can occur together, and the conditions attached to the (environmental assessment) certificate reflect that.”

Some environmental groups, mayors in British Columbia communities affected by the project and aboriginal leaders have opposed the pipeline expansion.

Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee accused the government of “blatantly” aligning itself against the wishes of its own citizens by granting the environmental approval.

“Right when we need our leadership to stand up to Alberta and Ottawa, they buckle like a cheap lawn chair,” he said in a news release.

“We’ve known all along that the government’s five conditions were political posturing instead of a real assessment of the risks and benefits for B.C. British Columbians aren’t stupid. Those conditions were never worth the paper they were written on.”

[SOURCE]