The National Energy Board has officially rejected a request for an extension of the applicant participation period for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Today (February 26) Kennedy Stewart, NDP MP for Burnaby—Douglas, received a letter from the NEB stating that Kinder Morgan had not changed specific plans in question, and that Stewart’s claims of insufficient consultation were therefore invalid.
On the phone from Ottawa, Stewart told the Straight that his next step will be to support NDP national energy critic Peter Julian in his bid to participate in the process as an intervener.
“I’m really disappointed," Stewart conceded. "I think that the National Energy Board has so far not served the public very well on this application. From my perspective, Kinder Morgan’s application to the NEB is incomplete. They haven’t done a proper job informing the public about how to get involved in terms of the hearing process.”
In a February 12 letter to the NEB, Stewart argued that an alternative pipeline route through the Lougheed Highway and North Road areas of Burnaby is “substantially different” from what the public understands as the pipeline up for review. “Residents of the Burnaby-Douglas area have not had the opportunity to consider how they may be directly affected,” the document states.
Kinder Morgan responded to those claims on February 14, stating that the alternative route outlined in its application has been communicated publicly, and that it is industry practice to refine and optimize pipeline routes in response to public consultation.
Stewart then submitted another letter to the NEB arguing that Kinder Morgan’s lack of decision on a final route through Burnaby meant that it had filed an incomplete application and had therefore failed to adequately inform the public.
The NEB rejected that argument, stating: “The key issue is whether specific information was provided showing that persons living along the alternate route for the project were not given notice of the Board’s 31 December 2013 letter about the project and application to participate process. In the Board’s view, the Extension Request was not supported with sufficient information to indicate there was a lack of notice.
The NEB’s response continues: “The application before the Board is for a certificate of public convenience and necessity. It is not for a detailed route. Should a certificate be issued for the project, the company would then have to file its Plans, Profile, and Book of Reference for the Board’s approval that set out the detailed route through every property along that route, as well as provide notice to landowners on the proposed detailed route and in the area.”
An expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline would triple the amount of diluted bitumen it currently transports from the tar sands—also known as oil sands—from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day. That would result in an increase in the number of oil tankers moving through Metro Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet from 60 to 400 ships per year.
Stewart said that while his office will continue to keep Burnaby constituents in the loop on Kinder Morgan's plans, he worries that British Columbians living in other areas could be left uninformed.