The Canada Energy Regulator Commission Oct. 18 recommended that NorthRiver Midstream Inc.’s NorthRiver Midstream Connection Project (NEBC Connector) in northeastern British Columbia be approved, subject to 49 conditions.
The NEBC Connector involves construction and operation of two parallel small diameter (8-12” OD) natural gas liquids pipelines about 215 km in length from British Columbia to Alberta (about 190 km in British Columbia and 23 km in Alberta) to connect Montney resource to downstream markets.
The pipelines would connect the existing NorthRiver-owned Highway junction, which lies about 25 km northwest of Wonowon, BC, and a riser in the Gordondale area of Alberta, about 19 km east of the British Columbia-Alberta border.
The Yahey v British Columbia case , the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Authority's commitment to Reconciliation all influenced the design of the hearing process, CER said.
This included collaborative workshops on the cumulative effects assessment method and the compensation plan. The Commission also held oral presentation sessions on Indigenous knowledge in Fort St. John.
Twenty-six stakeholders participated in the hearing, including 21 Indigenous communities, four departments and one landowner.
In its application, NorthRiver acknowledged the existence of significant adverse cumulative effects in the project area and committed to implementing measures to offset the project's contribution to these effects. The Commission said the compensation plan should include NorthRiver's contribution to the restoration fund resulting from the agreement between the Blueberry River First Nation and British Columbia; NorthRiver's contribution to the Treaty 8 restoration fund; and creation of an Indigenous-led land preservation fund.
The 49 conditions outlined by CER cover construction, safety, environmental protection, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions, compensatory measures, employment, and monitoring. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge and engaging potentially affected Indigenous peoples are key features of many conditions that help mitigate project effects on Aboriginal and treaty rights.
The Canadian Energy Regulator Act requires the Commission to submit a recommendation report to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. The latter will then present the recommendation report to the Governor in Council, who has 90 days to decide whether to instruct the Commission to issue a certificate.