On Wednesday, Aug. 28, the National Energy Board (NEB) became the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). For further information please visit our Implementing the Canadian Energy Regulator Act information page
Public Comment Period FAQs
- The Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) has been approved but what happens next? Can the company start construction?
- What is the NEB seeking public comment on and why?
- What is the NEB’s proposed approach for resuming regulatory processes for the Project?
- What can I comment on? What is excluded?
- Who can submit comments and what is the deadline?
- Is funding available for parties to prepare their comments on the proposed approach?
- If I choose not to submit comments now on the approach, can I do so later on?
- As a Landowner affected by the Project, do I have to participate in the comment process?
- I am a landowner who had a Detailed Route hearing that was completed. Will I have to have a new hearing?
- When can I file my Statement of Opposition to the detailed route?
- I did not have a detailed route hearing previously (I had not applied originally or I withdrew my Statement of Opposition or my Statement of Opposition was not accepted). Will I be able to have one during this process?
- Is the NEB’s proposed approach how the regulatory processes will resume?
- What happens after the comment period ends?
- I still have questions on the process or how to file my comments. How do I get more information?
1. The Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) has been approved but what happens next? Can the company start construction?
As directed by the Government of Canada, the NEB has issued a Certificate and Amended Certificates to Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain). However, issuance of Certificates does not end the regulatory process. The company must satisfy applicable pre-construction Certificate conditions, and have the detailed route of the pipeline approved, prior to starting construction. The issuance of Certificates does not automatically reinstate previous NEB decisions or orders required for Trans Mountain to begin or resume construction.
The NEB must now decide how it will resume processes that were partially completed and the status of decisions that were made prior to the Federal Court of Appeal’s (FCA) decision to set aside approval of the Project in August 2018. Until the NEB makes its decision, Trans Mountain cannot rely on previously issued decisions and orders to start or resume Project-related construction activities.
2. What is the NEB seeking public comment on and why?
The NEB is seeking public comment on its proposed approach for how it would resume regulatory processes for the Project, including those processes related to condition compliance and approval of the pipeline’s detailed route.
The NEB is committed to undertaking its regulatory oversight responsibilities in a manner that is fair, efficient, and transparent to all those involved, and to provide regulatory clarity about the next steps for the Project. The public comment period is an opportunity for interested individuals to provide their views to the NEB as to how these processes should resume.
3. What is the NEB’s proposed approach for resuming regulatory processes for the Project?
The NEB has proposed an approach where it would complete the processes that were underway and rely on decisions and orders that were issued prior to the FCA decision, unless relevant circumstances have materially changed. For example, if Trans Mountain proposes a different construction method, that change may necessitate a review of a detailed route decision relating to the affected lands.
4. What can I comment on? What is excluded?
The public may comment on how the NEB’s proposed approach to resuming regulatory processes would apply to any, or all, of the following processes:
- Condition compliance [Document 3797398]
- Detailed route approval [Document 3796626]
- Routing variances [Document 3796962]
- Non-route variances or design changes [Document 3796964]
- Right of entry [Document 3796966]
- Orders for temporary access [Document 3796968]
Section 3 (beginning on page 5) of the NEB’s Public Comment Period Letter [Filing C00072] details how the proposed approach would apply to each type of regulatory process. The corresponding Attachments 1-6 (beginning on pg. 15) provide relevant information regarding the status of each of the processes.
The proposed approach does not apply to these matters:
- Westridge Delivery Line Relocation Project
- Edmonton Terminal Decommissioning/Modifications
- Kamloops Terminal Decommissioning/Modifications
- Burnaby Terminal Decommissioning/Modifications
- North Thompson 6 Decommissioning/Crossing Replacement
- Requests to fix detailed route hearing costs
Attachment 7 (beginning on page 34) provides further details and references regarding the status of excluded activities or processes.
5. Who can submit comments and what is the deadline?
Anyone can submit comments during the public comment period, regardless of whether they were previously involved in earlier proceedings for the Project.
The deadline to submit public comments is July 5, 2019. A comment form [PDF 221 KB] [WORD 33 KB] is available on the NEB website, and comments can be submitted online, via fax, or by mail. Trans Mountain’s deadline to file initial comments is June 28, 2019, and their reply comments are due July 9, 2019. Complete details on how to submit comments are included in Section 4 (beginning on page 11) and Attachment 8 (beginning on page 36) of the NEB’s Public Comment Period Letter.
6. Is funding available for parties to prepare their comments on the proposed approach?
Participants in the comment process are not eligible to receive funding.
7. If I choose not to submit comments now on the approach, can I do so later on?
No. Comments received outside of the public comment period (June 21 – July 5, 2019) will not be considered.
8. As a Landowner affected by the Project, do I have to participate in the comment process?
Landowners, regardless of whether they were previously involved in a detailed route proceeding, are not obligated to provide comments on the NEB’s proposed approach but are able to do so, if interested.
9. I am a landowner who had a Detailed Route hearing that was completed. Will I have to have a new hearing?
The NEB’s proposed approach would require Trans Mountain to serve New Notices of its proposed detailed route for the Project on affected landowners. Landowners may choose to file a Statement of Opposition (SOO) but would only be granted a new hearing if the SOO is valid and the NEB finds that circumstances have materially changed.
If they choose not to file an SOO, their respective detailed route decision would remain valid and Trans Mountain would continue to be bound by the conditions that were imposed.
Further details of how the NEB’s proposed approach would apply to detailed route processes is available beginning on page 7 of the NEB’s Public Comment Period Letter and Attachment 2 (beginning on page 19) provides the status of detailed route decision and processes.
10. When can I file my Statement of Opposition to the detailed route?
First, the NEB must determine how it will resume the various regulatory processes for the Project, including those that apply to the approval of the detailed route of the Project. The NEB will do this after the close of the public comment period. Following that decision, parties will be notified of applicable processes and timelines.
11. I did not have a detailed route hearing previously (I had not applied originally or I withdrew my Statement of Opposition or my Statement of Opposition was not accepted). Will I be able to have one during this process?
Under the approach proposed by the NEB, individuals who had applied for a detailed route hearing but their Statement of Opposition was withdrawn or not accepted, or had not previously applied for a hearing, would be able to submit a new Statement of Opposition. Valid Statements of Opposition would only be accepted, however, if the NEB finds that circumstances have materially changed.
12. Is the NEB’s proposed approach how the regulatory processes will resume?
The NEB has an open mind and will consider all relevant comments and proposed alternative approaches before it makes its decision on how regulatory processes will resume. The NEB may therefore decide to take a different approach. The comments received on the NEB’s proposed approach will help inform the NEB’s decision.
13. What happens after the comment period ends?
Following the comment period, the NEB will decide how it will resume its regulatory processes. Trans Mountain will be directed to serve that decision on its List of Interested Parties, as well as on those that filed comments. The NEB’s decision will also be publicly communicated at that time.
14. I still have questions on the process or how to file my comments. How do I get more information?
The NEB recognizes the complexity of the matters subject to this public comment period. Process Advisors are available to assist the public with any process-related questions by phone at 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free) or by email at TMX.ProcessHelp@cer-rec.gc.ca.
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