On January 17, 2019, Trans Mountain filed its Argument-in-Chief with the National Energy Board (NEB) as part of the Reconsideration hearing for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

During the hearing the NEB will consider any necessary changes or additions to its May 2016 Recommendation Report, in light of the inclusion of Project-related marine shipping between the Westridge Marine Terminal and the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea limit in the “designated project” under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). This includes issues related to factors described in paragraphs 19(1)(a) through (h) and subsection 19(3) of the CEAA 2012, and to section 79 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Trans Mountain’s Argument highlights the economic need for the Project and concludes that the evidence on record demonstrates the requirements of CEAA and SARA have been met in respect of Project-related marine shipping. In particular:

  • Environmental and socio-economic effects of Project-related marine shipping, including the effects of accidents and malfunctions and cumulative effects, were thoroughly considered in the original proceeding, and no new or updated evidence has been filed to cast doubt on the conclusions or adequacy of that assessment.
  • Mitigation and monitoring measures within Trans Mountain’s control and the NEB’s jurisdiction were fully assessed in the original hearing and, with the exception of three new measures that Trans Mountain has committed to in its Direct Evidence, no evidence was  filed in this hearing demonstrating that additional feasible mitigation or monitoring measures exist for Project-related marine shipping (including in relation to SARA-listed species) that were not already considered in previous proceeding.
  • Alternative means of carrying out Project-related marine shipping were considered in original proceeding and were further explored in the Reconsideration process, and no new alternative means were identified in this hearing that were not already considered, or that would be preferable to the proposed means of carrying out Project-related marine shipping.
  • The NEB has sufficient evidence to confidently conclude that the significant adverse environmental effects of Project-related marine shipping that were identified in their original Report are justified in the circumstances. This determination should be based on the NEB’s previous analysis of benefits and burdens of the Project, as well as the fact that all technically and economically feasible mitigation for the significant effects have been, or will be, implemented.

In the Argument-in-Chief Trans Mountain also provided comment on the NEB’s draft conditions released on January 10, 2019, and submits these conditions are generally reasonable and consistent with Trans Mountain’s submission.

Trans Mountain’s Argument-in-Chief can be viewed here

The NEB must complete the Reconsideration hearing and submit its report to the Governor in Council no later than February 22, 2019.