Canada’s NEB to hear Aboriginal viewpoint on Trans Mountain expansion

Canada’s National Energy Board will hear the viewpoint of Aboriginal groups on the Trans Mountain expansion project on Aug. 25 in Edmonton, the first of four scheduled hearings through Nov. 28.

The hearings were originally scheduled to run throughout August, but after receiving input from several Aboriginal groups, the board amended its hearing schedule to avoid interfering with salmon harvest.

Edmonton hearings are scheduled through Sept. 5. Hearings are also scheduled for Chilliwack, BC, in October; and Kamloops, and Victoria, BC, in November.

The board said evidence from Aboriginals will “make up an important component of the evidence the panel will consider as it decides whether or not to recommend approving the project.”

NEB said Trans Mountain submitted its application on Dec. 16, 2013 (OGJ Online, Dec. 17, 2013). The project would expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system in Alberta and British Columbia and include 990 km of new line, new and modified facilities such as pump stations and tanks, the reactivation of 193 km of existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, BC, and expansion of the Westridge marine terminal.

Separately, Kevin Sorenson, Canada’s minister of state (finance), participated in an Aug. 20 panel discussion at the 64th Oilmen’s Business Forum in Banff, emphasizing the importance of collaborating with Aboriginal communities on resource projects and increasing their participation in pipeline safety operations.

“The best way to achieve our goals is through partnerships, meaningful engagement, and ongoing dialogue among key partners including industry, Aboriginal communities, and governments,” Sorenson said.

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