Resuming Regulatory Processes for TMEP Decision Release – FAQS
- What approach has the NEB decided on for resuming regulatory processes for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project)?
- Does this decision mean that the Project will simply pick up exactly where it left off?
- What happens if a review of a previous NEB decision is requested?
- I am opposed to the proposed Project route. Can I file a Statement of Opposition?
- I participated in a detailed route process for which a decision was issued prior to the FCA ruling. Is this decision valid?
- My detailed route hearing was still in progress. Is my SOO still valid?
- Can Trans Mountain start construction now that regulatory processes have resumed?
1. What approach has the NEB decided on for resuming regulatory processes for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project)?
In continuing regulatory processes for the project, the NEB has decided that it will rely on decisions and orders that were issued prior to the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) decision, unless the NEB decides that relevant circumstances have materially changed such that there is a doubt as to the correctness of a particular decision or order. This means that previously issued decisions and orders are valid, unless the NEB decides to amend or overturn them following a review initiated on its own motion, or due to information provided by Trans Mountain or an application for review.
2. Does this decision mean that the Project will simply pick up exactly where it left off?
For specific condition compliance requirements amended by Governor in Council (GIC), among others, the Board requires updated filings from Trans Mountain regarding those compliance submissions.
For detailed route processes, Trans Mountain must serve notice to landowners of its detailed route, and publish notices in local publications to notify affected parties. A 30-day period is available for a Statement of Opposition (SOO) to be filed by any landowner or affected party.
The NEB recognizes that from August 2018 to present, relevant circumstances may have materially changed for some aspects of the Project. This is why the NEB will review any prior decisions or orders affected by a material change. The NEB could also consider new evidence for detailed route hearings that were in progress at the time of the FCA decision or hold new detailed route hearings, where a landowner or affected party demonstrates a material change.
3. What happens if a review of a previous NEB decision is requested?
Decision or orders issued remain valid, unless and until the Board issues a decision to amend or overturn the prior decision or order. In other words, the mere filing of an application for review does not place the previous Board decision or order “on hold” or prevent Trans Mountain from relying on that authorization to construct.
4. I am opposed to the proposed Project route. Can I file a Statement of Opposition?
Yes, a Statement of Opposition (SOO) can be filed by any landowner or affected party. However, for a SOO to be valid, and considered by the NEB, it must describe a material change in circumstances and be related to detailed route matters, namely: the best location of the route, or the most appropriate methods or timing of constructing the pipeline. In the detailed route process, the Board does not reconsider the need for or the merits of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, nor does it consider compensation matters.
5. I participated in a detailed route process for which a decision was issued prior to the FCA ruling. Is this decision valid?
Detailed route decisions remain valid, unless a landowner or affected party files a valid Statement of Opposition (SOO) within the 30-day period, even if they had previously filed a SOO. Where a valid SOO is filed, the Board will conduct a review of the prior detailed route decision.
If no SOO is submitted, or the SOO is not valid, the detailed route decision pertaining to those lands will stand and the NEB will issue the relevant order, subject to any conditions imposed in the detailed route decision. A landowner does not need to file a SOO to ensure that Trans Mountain continues to be bound by the conditions set out in a prior detailed route decision.
6. My detailed route hearing was still in progress. Is my SOO still valid?
Landowners and Indigenous peoples with detailed route hearings that were in progress at the time of the FCA decision will need to register their continued objection by filing a new SOO within the 30-day period. If no SOO is submitted, the hearing in progress will not resume and the objection will be considered withdrawn. As long as a SOO is filed on time and is not withdrawn, the Board will complete any remaining process steps for the hearing that was in progress. If a valid SOO is filed that demonstrates circumstances have materially changed, hearing process steps may be added to consider this new evidence before the NEB makes its decision.
7. Can Trans Mountain start construction now that regulatory processes have resumed?
Trans Mountain must first serve notice to landowners, along the entire proposed route, regardless of whether they were previously given notice and must publish notices in local publications to notify affected parties. The NEB will issue notice to affected Indigenous peoples. Following the 30-day period for filling a SOO after service or publication of notice, the NEB will determine next steps for detailed route proceedings, including previously issued decisions, resuming those in progress and setting out new hearings, as applicable. Approval of applicable conditions is also required before Trans Mountain can commence construction.
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