In August, 2012, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (part of TransCanada Pipelines) applied to the National Energy Board (NEB) for permission to "decommission" a 266-km stretch of pipeline. Essentially, the application would see the abandonment of the line in place, but NOVA contended that it was "decommissioning" the line because service on its "pipeline" would continue. The NEB disagreed and directed that it would consider the application as one to abandon a pipeline.
On February 8, 2013, NOVA wrote to the NEB to withdraw its application, saying that it was reviewing its proposal in light of the NEB's comments: February 8, 2013. The NEB confirmed this development in its letter to NOVA dated February 25, 2013.
Landowners should keep an eye on these developments. It appears that pipeline companies are taking the position that, as long as they continue to transport materials somewhere on their pipeline systems, none of their abandonments are actually "abandonments" within the meaning of the NEB Act. Instead, the companies will suggest that they are "decommissioning" pipelines, depriving landowners and other interested parties from public hearings, participant funding, etc.