By February 22, 2019, the National Energy Board (NEB) will issue a report on its Reconsideration of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to the Governor in Council.

The Reconsideration hearing is considering any necessary changes to the NEB’s May 2016 Recommendation Report, taking into account Project-related marine shipping between the Westridge Marine Terminal and the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea limit under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

More than 120 Intervenors took part in the four-month hearing, which included 11 Oral Indigenous Traditional Evidence sessions in three locations. During the hearing, Trans Mountain submitted more than 2,500 pages of evidence and answered more than 550 Information Requests from the NEB and Intervenors.

Concurrent to the Reconsideration hearing, the federal government has re-initiated Phase III consultations with all 117 Indigenous groups impacted by the Project and has appointed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci as special federal representative to oversee the consultation process.

With less than two weeks left until the NEB’s recommendation, here is a snapshot of the Expansion Project by the numbers:

Project

  • It will be approximately 980 km of new pipeline; 890,000 barrels per day transported.
  • 73 per cent of the route will use the existing right-of-way, 16 per cent will follow other linear infrastructure such as telecommunications, hydro or highways and 11 per cent will be new right-of-way.
  • It will include 193 km of reactivated pipeline.
  • 12 new pump stations will be built.
  • 19 new tanks will be added to the existing storage terminals in Burnaby (14), Sumas (1) and Edmonton (4).
  • Three new berths will be built at Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.
  • The existing pipeline will carry refined products, synthetic crude oils and light crude oils with the capability for heavy crude oils.
  • The new twin pipeline will carry heavier oils with the capability for transporting light crude oils.

Why expand?

  • The Trans Mountain Expansion Project will help make sure Canada gets full value for its oil.
  • Currently, nearly all the oil produced in Western Canada goes to one market – the United States Midwest. However, there’s a limit to how much oil this market needs. For much of the last decade, Canada has been selling to the United States at a discount to the world price for similar oil products.
  • Independent estimates conclude oil producer revenues will increase by $73.5 billion over 20 years of operations and Canada will earn $46.7 billion in additional taxes and royalties to federal and provincial governments.

Regulatory

Those involved in the Reconsideration hearing limited their evidence to only new and updated information on a narrow set of issues, and evidence already on the record wasn’t re-filed and re-tested. Here are some highlights of the previous NEB hearing that concluded in May 2016.

  • 16,000-page Facilities Application filed December 2013, measuring more than one metre in height.
  • 29-month NEB regulatory process – Dec. 16, 2013 (submission) to May 20, 2016 plus seven months of Government of Canada review (Dec. 2016).
  • 17,000 questions answered by Trans Mountain in multiple rounds of Information Requests (IRs).
  • 400 Intervenors with full process rights.
  • Four Indigenous Oral Hearings in locations in BC and AB.
  • 13-day Oral Hearing held in Burnaby, BC and Calgary, AB.
  • 67 Intervenors registered to speak at the Oral Hearings.
  • 50,000 pages filed with the NEB, which includes the 16,000-page Application. 

On Jan 27, 2016, the Government of Canada announced Interim Measures for Pipeline Reviews that included undertaking deeper consultations with Indigenous Peoples, assessing the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with this project and appointing a ministerial representative to engage communities, including Indigenous communities potentially affected by the project, to seek their views and report back to the Minister of Natural Resources.