Trans Moun­tain hear­ing dates set

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION -

The Na­tional En­ergy Board has re­leased a sched­ule that it says will al­low it to re­con­sider its ap­proval of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion pro­ject in time to meet a Feb. 22 fed­eral gov­ern­ment dead­line.

The fed­eral reg­u­la­tor is im­pos­ing fil­ing dead­lines start­ing this month, will hear oral tra­di­tional ev­i­dence by In­dige­nous groups in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, and will hear po­ten­tial oral sum­mary ar­gu­ments in Jan­uary.

The plan to triple ca­pac­ity of the ex­ist­ing Trans Moun­tain pipe­line be­tween Ed­mon­ton and Burn­aby, B.C., is in limbo while Ot­tawa, which now owns the pipe­line, at­tempts to ful­fil a court’s re­quire­ments to con­sult In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and con­sider the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of ad­di­tional oil tankers off the coast.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment or­dered the NEB to re­con­sider parts of Trans Moun­tain’s ap­pli­ca­tion re­lated to marine ship­ping and ap­pointed for­mer Supreme Court jus­tice Frank Ia­cobucci to over­see a new round of con­sul­ta­tions with In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

Af­ter gath­er­ing in­put from the pub­lic on two op­tions ear­lier this month, the NEB says it will limit its con­sid­er­a­tion of pro­ject-re­lated ship­ping to the area be­tween the Westridge Marine Ter­mi­nal and the 12-nau­ti­cal-mile ter­ri­to­rial sea limit, not to Canada’s 200-nau­ti­cal-mile ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone.

It also cor­rected the num­ber of ap­proved in­ter­ven­ers to 99, not­ing it had ini­tially re­leased an in­cor­rect to­tal of 98 on Oct. 5.

“The NEB’s hear­ing will be a com­pre­hen­sive sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of pro­jec­tre­lated marine ship­ping,” said NEB chief en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cer Robert Steed­man in a state­ment.

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