Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended approval of Kinder Morgan’s C$7.4bn ($5.5bn) Trans Mountain expansion project following the conclusion of a reconsideration report.
The energy regulator in its reconsideration report said that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the Canadian public interest.
However, the regulator will impose 156 conditions on the pipeline expansion project if approved by the federal government. The conditions cover various aspects such as emergency preparedness and response, environment protection, consultation with impacted indigenous communities, pipeline safety and others.
NEB has also come up with 16 new recommendations that are not within its regulatory mandate, but within the authority of the Canadian government. The recommendations are cumulative effects management for the Salish Sea, steps to neutralize increased underwater noise, marine shipping and small vessel safety, and marine oil spill response among others.
NEB said that adverse environmental effects resulting from the project are expected to be offset by the considerable economic benefits brought by it along with measures taken up to minimize the effects.
NEB Chief Environment Officer Robert Steedman said: “As indicated in the NEB’s report, the NEB has delivered a comprehensive, evidence-based, fair and meaningful review of Project-related marine shipping, within the timeline required by the Government of Canada.
“The NEB listened to a range of diverse views and carefully considered all of the evidence submitted, the results of which are reflected in the conclusions, conditions and recommendations presented in the report.”
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project calls for the twinning of the 1,150km-long existing Trans Mountain Pipeline between Strathcona County near Edmonton in Alberta and Burnaby in British Columbia. The pipeline expansion project is intended to boost the transportation capacity of Trans Mountain from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.
In August 2018, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of NEB for the project following which Kinder Morgan suspended construction on the pipeline project. The court came to the conclusion that the process adopted by the regulator in approving the pipeline project was flawed.
The reconsideration report, which is now with the Canadian government, will be one of the factors based on which a final decision will be taken by it on the approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.