Commission of the CER recommends approval for the NEBC Connector Project with 49 conditions
Conditions reflect careful consideration of cumulative effects in the project area and impacts on Indigenous and Treaty rights
For Immediate Release
October 18, 2023 – Calgary, AB – Canada Energy Regulator
Today, the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) recommended approval of NorthRiver Midstream’s NEBC Connector Project. The project involves constructing and operating two parallel, 215-kilometre (km) natural gas liquids pipelines from B.C. to Alberta. The Commission recognized the unique context of this project meant things needed to be done differently.
The court case Yahey v British Columbia, the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the CER’s commitment to Reconciliation all influenced the design of the hearing process. The hearing included collaborative workshops on cumulative effects assessment methodology, and the offset plan. The Commission also held an oral Indigenous knowledge sessions in Fort St. John. The process allowed parties to test and respond to different versions of the offset plan as it evolved.
As a part of its application, NorthRiver acknowledged the existence of significant adverse cumulative effects in the project area and committed to implementing measures to offset the project’s contribution to cumulative effects. The Commission concluded that the offset plan should include:
- NorthRiver contributing to the Blueberry River First Nation – B.C. Restoration fund;
- NorthRiver contributing to the Treaty 8 Restoration Fund; and
- establishing an Indigenous-led land securement fund.
Input from potentially affected Indigenous Peoples played a crucial role in shaping conditions, including those with specific requirements placed on a project guiding its construction and operation. These conditions are in addition to NorthRiver’s commitments and other legal requirements that apply to all companies as part of the regulatory framework. The 49 conditions are related to construction, safety, environmental protection, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, offsets, employment and monitoring. The incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and engagement with potentially affected Indigenous Peoples is a key feature of many conditions, helping mitigate the project’s impacts on Indigenous and treaty rights.
The CER Act requires that the Commission’s recommendation report be submitted to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. The Minister will then take the recommendation report to the Governor in Council, who will decide whether or not to direct the Commission to issue a certificate.
Should the project be approved, the CER will monitor and enforce compliance with all conditions and other regulatory requirements over the life of the project. NorthRiver will be held accountable to construct, operate, and eventually abandon the project in a manner that ensures safety and protection of the environment and Indigenous rights.
- NorthRiver filed the project application in November 2021, and the hearing record closed in July 2023.
- There were 26 intervenors in the hearing including 21 Indigenous communities, four government departments and one landowner.
- The project involves two parallel 215 km long small-diameter pipelines from NorthRiver’s existing Highway Hub, approximately 25 km northwest of Wonowon, B.C., to the Gordondale area of Alberta, about 19 km east of the B.C./Alberta border.
- The pipelines would transport natural gas liquids and condensate.
- Approximately 195 km or 91 percent of the proposed route parallels existing linear disturbances such as other pipelines, roads, etc.
- The pipelines would provide an alternative transportation option for northeast B.C. producers, fostering competition and increasing shipper choice.
- Governor in Council has 90 days to decide whether or not to direct the Commission to issue a certificate unless an extension is granted.
- The Commission is responsible for adjudicative decisions and recommendations, operating as a quasi-judicial body that is arm’s length from other parts of the CER governance structure and the federal government.
The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We review energy development projects and share energy information, all while enforcing some of the strictest safety and environmental standards in the world. To find out how the CER is working for you visit us online or connect on social media.
Ruth Anne Beck
Canada Energy Regulator
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803
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