Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) on Thursday ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan, saying the company is not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws as it prepares to begin construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
The Project envisages the twinning of the existing pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia, to raise the nominal capacity of the pipeline system to 890,000 bpd from 300,000 bpd.
The project is supported by the oil industry in Canada, but is fiercely opposed by environmentalists and indigenous tribes. The province of Alberta also supports it, while the new government in British Columbia has vowed to fight the project “to protect B.C. over Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker traffic expansion.”
In October 2017, Trans Mountain raised constitutional questions with the NEB related to the applicability and operability of some Burnaby bylaws in relation to the project. Now the regulator’s decision allows Kinder Morgan to start work at its temporary infrastructure site near the Westridge Marine Terminal, and some work at the Burnaby Terminal, subject to any other permits or authorizations that may be required, the NEB said.
The ruling is a welcome win for Kinder Morgan that had warned earlier this week that “the previously announced unmitigated delay to a September 2020 in-service date could extend beyond September 2020. Further, as stated in the November 14 motion, if TMEP continues to be “faced with unreasonable regulatory risks due to a lack of clear processes to secure necessary permits . . . it may become untenable for Trans Mountain’s shareholders . . . to proceed.”
“We are pleased with the decision we have received from the NEB today, as it reinforces our view this federally approved Project is in the national interest,” Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, told the CBC in a statement.
“We believe that this is an abuse of federal powers, and City staff are shocked by the NEB’s decision, as City staff have been reviewing Kinder Morgan’s construction applications in good faith, focusing both on citizen safety and mitigation of environmental damage,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley welcomed the regulator’s decision and said that “It gets us another step closer to shovels in the ground and more markets for our energy resources – something that benefits each and every Canadian.”