Hear­ings set for chal­lenge of gas pipe­line to LNG project

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - DAN HEAL­ING

The Na­tional En­ergy Board is sched­ul­ing hear­ings over the next three months to con­sider a ju­ris­dic­tional chal­lenge of the ap­proval of a pipe­line needed to sup­ply nat­u­ral gas to the re­cently sanc­tioned $40-bil­lion LNG Canada project.

But plan­ning for con­struc­tion to be­gin early next year will con­tinue based on the $6.2-bil­lion Coastal GasLink Pipe­line’s provin­cial ap­provals and per­mits, said a spokes­woman for the project.

The NEB hear­ings will con­sider only the ques­tion of whether the British Co­lum­bia Oil and Gas Com­mis­sion had ju­ris­dic­tion to is­sue ap­provals for the project, the NEB says.

If it de­cides the project should be un­der fed­eral ju­ris­dic­tion, the reg­u­la­tor says the pro­po­nent will have to make a for­mal NEB ap­pli­ca­tion and un­dergo a sep­a­rate process to win fed­eral ap­proval.

“If the NEB de­cides Coastal GasLink is to be fed­er­ally reg­u­lated, then the project be­lieves the NEB will need to ad­dress tran­si­tion from provin­cial to fed­eral ju­ris­dic­tion,” pipe­line spokes­woman Jac­que­lynn Ben­son said in an email on Wednes­day.

“If that sit­u­a­tion oc­curs, Coastal GasLink will re­view that de­ci­sion to de­ter­mine its path for­ward,” she added.

The NEB ac­tions are in re­sponse to a chal­lenge by B.C. res­i­dent Mike Sawyer who ar­gues that be­cause Tran­sCanada Corp. will own and op­er­ate the pro­posed pipe­line and its con­nected Nova Gas Trans­mis­sion Ltd. sys­tem to­gether, they form a sin­gle sys­tem that crosses the Al­berta-B.C. bound­ary and there­fore must be reg­u­lated by the fed­eral govern­ment.

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