Background – Enbridge Pipelines Inc. – Line 3 Replacement Program

On 5 November 2014, Enbridge applied to replace 1,067 kilometres of  3 pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba, with 1,096 kilometres of new pipeline. The Project application includes:

  • Installation of 55 new remotely operated valvesLine
  • Installation of 18 new pump stations and associated infrastructure and equipment
  • Construction of three new oil storage tanks at the Hardisty Terminal in Alberta
  • Interconnections at facilities

Enbridge proposed to operate the replacement pipeline at the original pipeline’s capacity of 760,000 barrels of oil per day. The majority of the Line 3 replacement pipeline will be constructed within a right of way that parallels and overlaps existing Enbridge pipeline rights of way, including the Enbridge Mainline corridor.

NEB Decision

  • The NEB concludes that the Project is in the Canadian public interest, and is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
  • The NEB’s conclusion follows a comprehensive Environmental Assessment, and an evaluation of environmental, economic and social considerations, through a public hearing process that included oral traditional evidence from Aboriginal groups.
  • The NEB has imposed 89 conditions that strengthen public safety, protection of the environment, and ensure continued consultation between the company, landowners and Aboriginal peoples.

Highlights: Decisions and Recommendations

Pipeline Replacement

  • The NEB is of the view that the Project is an important step in the continuing lifecycle of the Line 3 pipeline.
  • The new pipeline will be built to modern standards and will operate with improved safety and reliability, which is a significant benefit of the Project.
  • Enbridge presented the NEB with evidence of safety and environmental risks associated with excavating and removing pipeline from the ground, including the possibility of damage or ruptures to the adjacent active pipelines and resulting environmental damage. There was insufficient evidence to persuade the NEB that there are benefits to removing the existing Line 3 pipeline that outweigh the risks at this time.

Landowner Matters

  • There was very little landowner involvement in the hearing process. The company entered into agreements with landowners along the Project route. This included two agreements with the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations, the Saskatchewan Association of Pipeline Landowners, and the Manitoba Pipeline Landowners Association.

Importance of Continuing Consultation with Aboriginal Groups

  • The NEB believes there is an important opportunity at this juncture for Enbridge to renew, and in some cases, improve its relationship with Aboriginal Groups.
  • The company must file, for NEB approval, consultation plans for Aboriginal groups going forward. The plans must be developed in consultation with Aboriginal groups and must reflect a collaborative and coordinated consultation approach, as opposed to only information sharing.
  • The company is required to develop an Aboriginal Monitoring Plan.  The NEB expects Enbridge to make efforts to accommodate active monitoring of construction by Aboriginal groups.

NEB Hearing Panel Policy Recommendations

  1. Aboriginal Monitoring Program Recommendation: The NEB hearing Panel recommends that the NEB, the pipeline industry, and Aboriginal Groups work together to create a set of principles, objectives, or a framework approach,  that can be used to assist the development of  Aboriginal monitoring programs for large pipeline projects.
  2. Decommissioning Recommendation: The NEB hearing Panel recommends that the NEB carry out additional assessment and consultation on the policy and regulatory framework that guides advanced stages of a pipeline’s lifecycle, including decommissioning and abandonment.

The NEB Hearing

An oral public hearing that included Aboriginal Oral Traditional Evidence took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba from November 30 to December 3, 2015, and in Calgary, Alberta from December 7th to 10th, and December 14, 2015.

The NEB Panel granted Intervenor status to 39 individuals and groups while a further 26 individuals and groups were granted Commenter status.

The NEB’s assessment of the Project included: Project need, aboriginal peoples’ knowledge and concerns, environmental responsibility, emergency management, financial responsibility, economic feasibility, and operational and engineering analyses.

What’s next?

As required by federal law, the NEB has submitted its Recommendation to the federal Minister of Natural Resources. The federal government’s Interim Measures for Pipeline Reviews will apply to this Project.

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