Rainbow

Rainbow

Thursday, October 7, 2010

National Energy Board "Participant Funding Program" released

The National Energy Board (NEB) has now released details of its "participant funding program" that will apply to the following oral hearing processes:
•Certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline (section 52);
•Exempting orders respecting pipelines (section 58);
•Certificate of public convenience and necessity for an international or designated interprovincial power line (subsection 58.16);
•Abandonment of an international or designated interprovincial power line (subsection 58.34);
•and Abandonment of a pipeline (section 74). 
Interested parties, including landowners, will be able to apply to the Board for funding of costs (up to 75% may be paid in advance, with the balance paid following the oral hearing).  However, only a limited amount of total funding for any single hearing process will be made available depending on the importance of the project as determined by the Board.  Also, the amount the Board may make available for funding will depend on the amount of money directed to the program by the federal government. 

Parties who wish to receive funding must enter into a contribution agreement with the NEB.  If a project application is subsequently withdrawn by a company, the party receiving funding must return all funds into the program except funds which have been irrevocably committed. 

It remains to be seen how this program will operate in practice.  Unlike cost recovery mechanisms available in some provinicial systems, landowners will not necessarily be entitled to recover their reasonable costs.  Instead, they will only be able to recover a share of whatever limited funding is made available for a specific hearing process.  Also, as opposed to provincial cost recovery mechanisms, the NEB funding will come from the government rather than being charged to the company making the application. 

Read about the program in the NEB Participant Funding Program Guide.