The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, located in Alberta and BC, is regulated, principally by the National Energy Board (NEB or the Board). The NEB, an independent federal agency established in 1959 regulates the construction and operation of interprovincial and international oil and gas pipelines.
In June 2012, Trans Mountain filed an application with the NEB for tolls that would be implemented on the TMEP and in May 2013, the Board approved these contract terms and toll structure. This approval reinforces market support for the Project and provided Trans Mountain with the necessary economic incentive to proceed with design, consultation and regulatory applications for the Project.
The Project will require a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) pursuant to Section 52 of the NEB Act to permit construction and operation of the expanded TMPL system. A comprehensive Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (ESA) and a public hearing is required as part of the NEB regulatory process for the Project. The Section 52 application forms the basis for the regulatory process and public hearing for the Project.
The CPCN application, filed on December 16, 2013 consists of eight volumes, including the ESA, risk assessments and an overview of the Aboriginal and stakeholder engagement carried out by Trans Mountain. This information addresses the filing requirements contained in the National Energy Board Act and as outlined in the Board’s Filing Manual. It also addresses the information required under section 19(1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. As well, the Board released a project-specific List of Issues on July 29, 2013. The ESA also addresses the NEB’s Filing Requirements Related to the Potential Environmental and Socio-Economic Effects of Increased Marine Shipping Activities, Trans Mountain Expansion Project released on September 10, 2013.
In addition to the federal authorizations, Trans Mountain is participating in Transport Canada’s voluntary Technical Review Process of Marine Terminal Systems and Transshipment Sites (TERMPOL) process to address the increase in marine traffic to offload product from the Project. The TERMPOL process will take into consideration the operating systems and protocols associated with existing marine transportation, and examine the implications of the possible increase in marine vessel traffic to offload the product transported by the Project. This is an operational review process led by a federal interdepartmental committee tasked with precisely and reliably measuring the navigational risks associated with the location and operation of the marine terminals for large oil tankers. The intent of the TERMPOL is to ameliorate elements of a project proposal that, in certain circumstances, could threaten the integrity of a ship’s hull and its cargo containment system and, consequently, the environment near the ship while it is navigating waters under Canadian jurisdiction.
Information about the NEB’s hearing process can be seen on their website. There are several ways to get involved with the hearing process. To receive process updates, including information on the application to participate, you can sign up to receive email updates from the NEB about the NEB hearing process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project here.
Trans Mountain anticipates the hearing process will consume approximately 18 months with a public hearing expected near the end of 2014. In addition to the hearing process, Trans Mountain will continue to actively engage with Aboriginal communities, landowners and many other potentially affected individuals and groups.