Pipeline Construction Project Dealt Legal Blow

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal yesterday announced it has rejected a National Energy Board (NEB) decision regarding TransCanada’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline Project (PRGT), a 900-kilometer pipeline designed to transport gas from northeastern British Columbia to Petronas’ proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal near Prince Rupert.

The court ruled that the NEB made a legal mistake when it dismissed Smithers, British Columbia resident Mike Sawyer’s request that the NEB hold a full hearing to determine if the PRGT project is actually in federal jurisdiction and needs to have NEB approval. Speaking for a unanimous panel of three judges, Justice Donald Rennie said the NEB made significant constitutional law errors in dismissing Sawyer’s application. According to Rennie, the NEB merely looked at the location of the pipeline within British Columbia and failed to consider that the entire purpose of the pipeline is to move gas for export.

TransCanada has 60 days to apply to the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision, while the NEB will hold a full hearing to determine if the project falls in federal jurisdiction and requires federal environmental assessment and approval.


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