2017 Soybean Harvest

2017 Soybean Harvest

Saturday, March 6, 2010

NEB Approves NOVA Groundbirch Pipeline Project

The National Energy Board has released its Reasons for Decision in GH-1-2009 approving NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.'s application for the Groundbirch Pipeline Project that will run between Alberta and British Columbia, just north of Dawson Creek.  Of note to landowners in the decision, the NEB ruled:
  • "With regard to depth of cover, the Board notes that the proposed design meets or exceeds CSA Z662-07 requirements, which, in the Board's view is sufficient to accommodate ordinary agricultural practices."  The CSA standard for depth of cover is 2 feet.  The Board provided no explanation of its use of the term "ordinary agricultural practices";
  • With respect to pipeline abandonment, the Board says that it "has committed to address issues related to abandonment through its Land Matters Consultation Initiative", and required no commitments on the part of NOVA;
  • The Board is allowing NOVA to implement Alternative Integrity Validation (AIV) to check the integrity of the pipeline before it is placed into operation and then to apply for a partial exemption from hydrostatic testing requirements (where water is pumped through the pipe).  It is not yet, therefore, allowing full use of AIV as requested by the company;
  • The South Peace Landowners Association (SPLA) raised concerns with the Board over NOVA's use of a confidentiality agreement in its consultation with landowners.  NOVA was requiring landowners to enter into a confidentiality agreement before presenting certain offers to them.  In its decision, the Board makes no ruling about the appropriateness of the confidentiality requirement, other than to say that it finds that "the impact of the Confidentiality Agreement on certain landowners and their representatives has, in part, frustrated" the objectives of NOVA's consultation program;
  • In its discussion of land matters, the Board acknowledged SPLA's concerns about the confidentiality requirement and the conduct of land agents for NOVA, but impose any changes in NOVA's practices.  The Board encouraged NOVA to instruct its land agents on appropriate conduct.
Read the decision at: NEB Reasons for Decision GH-1-2009