Northern Gateway Project: next steps
The decision made on June 17th, 2014 by the federal government on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal was one more step in a process that has significant steps yet to go. Consequently, I believe it will be several years before any construction begins.
After reviewing the independent Joint Review Panel’s report, our Government has accepted the Panel’s recommendation that the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal proceed only if it meets the 209 conditions set out by the JRP.
Those who are interested in reviewing those conditions can find the information in Volume Two, Appendix 1 of the Joint Review Panel report at www.neb-one.gc.ca .
I am also aware that tanker safety and marine spill response capability is of concern. To learn more about the work that is being done in this regard, please go to www.tc.gc.ca and search A Review of Canada’s Ship-source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime—Setting the Course for the Future .
As BC residents and residents of the Okanagan, we know that developing our natural resources has always been a vital part of our economic prosperity, so finding the optimal balance between our economic interests while protecting the environment is a necessity.
With three daughters and three grandsons, I share the view of many constituents that future economic opportunities are a high priority and that jobs and a strong economy are the basis for continuing to provide a good quality of life, including supporting government programs like healthcare, education and other social programs.
The following information was provided to me by the Minister of Natural Resources and since it is relevant to understanding the next steps for the Northern Gateway project, I am sharing it with you. As your MP, I welcome any views or concerns you might have as the process unfolds. Please do not hesitate to write to me at [email protected].
On May 27, 2010, Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership filed an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to construct and operate a 1,170 km, 525,000 barrel per day crude oil pipeline and a 193,000 barrel per day condensate pipeline between Bruderheim, Alberta, and Kitimat, British Columbia, and a marine terminal at the port of Kitimat.
Following a rigorous, science-based review that provided opportunities for the public to submit their views and comments on the project directly to the Joint Review Panel (JRP), in December of 2013 the independent Panel released its report. The report found that the project’s benefits outweighed the potential burdens and risks, and recommended that construction and operation of the project was in the public interest, subject to 209 conditions being met by the proponent.
After carefully reviewing the report, the Government accepted the Panel’s recommendation to impose 209 conditions on Northern Gateway Pipelines’ proposal. The National Energy Board will now issue Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity. This is only one step in the process. There are a number of major steps before construction can begin. The timing of construction will depend on how the proponent proceeds.
Before construction can begin, the proponent will need to seek approval from the NEB for the detailed pipeline route and location of the final right of way. As part of this process, it must publish a notice in local newspapers and provide a written notice to all owners of lands proposed to be acquired. Where objections are filed within 30 days, the NEB will hold public hearings on the detailed route in the affected areas in order to consider landowner concerns and the proponent’s views.
In parallel, the proponent will need to seek various regulatory approvals from the federal government and the governments of British Columbia and Alberta.
Federally, these include:
- Approvals from National Energy Board to authorize the construction and continued operation of the pipelines;
- Authorizations under the Fisheries Act;
- Approval under the Indian Act to cross Indian Reserves, and authorization under the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act with respect to issuance of authorization to use lands held by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;
- Authorization under the Canadian Transportation Act for construction crossing a railway line;
- Approval and licensing issued under the Explosives Act;
In addition, the Province of Alberta would be responsible for issuing upwards of 50 permits and authorizations under the Water Act, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Public Lands Act, Alberta Forests Act, Historical Resources Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Public Health Act, Alberta Weed Control Act, and the Public Highways Act.
The Province of British Columbia would be responsible for issuing approximately 60 permits and authorizations under the Forest Act, Forest and Range Practices Act, Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, Weed Control Act, Land Act, Agricultural Land Commission Act, Fisheries Act, Fisheries Protection Act, Water Act, Environmental Management Act, Wildlife Act, Heritage Conservation Act, Transportation Act, and Industrial Roads Act.
The proponent must also demonstrate to the independent regulator, the National Energy Board, how it will meet the 209 conditions imposed on the project as a condition of approval. These include requirements such as preparing and implementing a Caribou Habitat Restoration Plan, and developing a research program on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oils. Additional consultations with Aboriginal communities are also required under many of the conditions and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits.
In addition to the many steps the proponent must take to meet legal requirements before it proceeds with construction, it would need to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route, to better understand their concerns and find ways to address them.
The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]. Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca
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