2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NEB posts January 2010 Land Matters Consultation Initiative Action Report - Still no action on the costs issue

The National Energy Board has posted its latest "progress reports" on the Land Matters Consultation Initiative (LMCI) program. Information is available at:
http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/clf-nsi/rthnb/nvlvngthpblc/lndmttrs/lndmttrs-eng.html

Of greatest interest to landowners affected by the NEB and its processes, the question of costs awards and funding for landowner participation remains entirely unanswered. No progress has been made. The NEB continues to state that, "If NRCan [Natural Resources Canada] decided to examine this policy area, the NEB would work with NRCan to assess, and if appropriate, implement any changes. Estimated timing to complete the action: No date established."

Unlike provincial energy regulators such as the Ontario Energy Board and the Alberta Energy Resource Conservation Board, the NEB provides for virtually no cost recovery for landowners who are affected directly by energy projects on their lands. This has been an issue raised with the NEB consistently for many years, but it appears that in the more than two and a half years since the LMCI was established, the NEB has taken no steps to address this issue.

What it continues to mean for landowners is that participation in NEB energy project approval processes, pipeline abandonment hearings and the process currently underway to determine the future funding of abandonment costs is entirely at the landowner's own expense (vs. energy companies which may recover costs of participation through NEB regulated tolls). Obviously this is a major impediment to the ability of landowners to put forward the expert evidence required to address these issues before the NEB. No evidence, no meaningful participation. Same old story.