CALGARY, Oct. 23, 2014 /CNW/ – The National Energy Board (the Board) issued an order today granting Trans Mountain access to Burnaby Mountain to complete technical studies related to the company’s proposed pipeline.
The order prevents the City of Burnaby from blocking Trans Mountain from carrying out the required surveys and technical studies. The Board also ruled that it has the legal authority to consider constitutional questions relating to its own jurisdiction.
In the ruling, the Board determined that the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) provides the jurisdiction and the authority to determine that these specific City of Burnaby bylaws are not applicable based on the facts before the Board. The Board went on to say that the surveys and studies about Trans Mountain’s proposed pipeline route through Burnaby Mountain are required in order to make a recommendation to the federal government about whether or not this project should proceed. Preventing full access to Burnaby Mountain would be contrary to the purpose of the NEB Act.
The order also requires Trans Mountain to provide the City of Burnaby with 48 hours written notice before entering Burnaby Mountain to carry out the surveys and studies. Furthermore, Trans Mountain must do as little damage as possible and remediate any damage it does cause, to the extent possible.
This is first time the Board has issued an order to a municipality.
Before making a decision on this motion, the Board heard oral arguments from the City of Burnaby and Trans Mountain on 9 October. The Attorneys General of Canada and all of the provinces were also able to participate, although none chose to do so.
Trans Mountain originally filed a motion with the Board on 3 September requesting an order under sections 12, 13 and 73(a) of the NEB Act, granting the company access to Burnaby Mountain and forbidding the City of Burnaby from denying access. The Board denied this motion on 25 September as the request contained a constitutional question. When raising a constitutional question, federal legislation requires that notice be provided to the Attorneys General of Canada and the provinces. Trans Mountain then filed a similar motion for an access order with the Board on 26 September, raising a constitutional question, notice of which was served on the Attorneys General.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry with the safety of Canadians and protection of the environment as its top priority. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit www.neb-one.gc.ca.
SOURCE National Energy Board
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