2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NEB Approves TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Last Thursday, the National Energy Board (NEB) released its Reasons for Decision approving the application by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.  Once constructed, the pipeline will run from Hardisty, Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico carrying tar sands oil to Texas and Louisiana for refining. 

From a landowner perspective, the decision provides little information.  There appears to have been minimal landowner participation in the hearing and, therefore, there is minimal attention paid by the Board to landowner issues in its decision (if you don't raise the issues, the Board is not going to raise them on its own). 

One exception was the participation of the Sierra Club of Canada (SCC), which addressed the pipeline abandonment issue in its submissions:
SCC submitted that the Keystone XL application failed to assess pipeline decommissioning and
that failure to do so was not in the public interest. SCC further indicated that full disclosure for the public interest would require that Keystone assess the decommissioning or abandonment and impending financial liability of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Without this critical information, SCC was of the view that Keystone could not provide an assurance to Canadians that they will not have to cover the costs associated with the decommissioning and abandonment of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
As it does on a consistent basis, the Board declined to address the issue of abandonment of the proposed pipeline during the project approval process, stating:
With respect to abandonment, an application needs to be filed pursuant to the NEB Act if and when facilities are to be abandoned. As a result, the NEB provides regulatory oversight during the abandonment phase and Keystone will be required to comply with applicable regulatory requirements at that time, as well as any conditions attached to any approval for abandonment. The Board has committed to further address the physical and financial issues related to abandonment through its Land Matters Consultation Initiative Stream 3 and 4 actions.
Of note, there is no provision in the National Energy Board Act by which directly affected landowners may recover costs of their participation in Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity hearings (such as the Keystone XL hearing), in pipeline abandonment hearings or in the Land Matters Consultation Initiative.