Changes to the Route
Landowners play a vital role in the development of Canada’s energy resources. The National Energy Board (NEB or Board) has about 73,000 kilometres of pipelines under its jurisdiction – almost enough to wrap around the Earth twice. In order for a pipeline to be built, a specific location must be identified and the necessary land rights need to be obtained by pipeline companies from affected landowners. Routing of the pipeline could require changes before construction starts or as issues are encountered during construction.
What causes changes to the route?
During negotiations for lands rights, or identification of the impacts of the project on the immediate area, the company may identify a need to move the route to another area to mitigate concerns, adapt to design constraints, or provide avoidance of sensitive areas.
Will I be notified of a change if I am a newly affected landowner?
Yes. The company must provide you with notice that they will need to acquire land rights from you, and will normally advise the landowners and others in the local area that the route will be changing. If it is a completely new application for the detailed route, you may receive a formal notice and have a period for filing a statement of opposition to the route. For information on this, see our NEB Snapshot: Detailed Route Approval Process.
What is the assessment process for a change to the Certificate-approved route?
There is no requirement for an NEB hearing process to consider a section 21 application for changes to the general route or corridor, but anyone who has comments to provide can file a letter with the Board setting out their concerns or providing additional information. The Board requires information on how the project will be built safely, and how it may impact people and the environment. The Board will decide how to collect more information or evidence from anyone who is affected. If the Board recommends that the application should be approved, it will be sent to Governor in Council who has the final say whether to approve the change to the Certificate. If the Certificate changes, the change to the general route or corridor is allowed, but must still go through the applicable steps of the
Detailed Route Approval Process. Can I request a change to the route?
Many routing changes are a result of consultations or discussions between affected landowners and the pipeline company. You are strongly encouraged to raise all of your concerns and any routing suggestions to the company as early as possible. Companies are encouraged to be open to discussing your ideas, but keep in mind they may have other constraints that affect how much the route could be changed in that area.
If your concerns are not addressed at the time the company applies for approval of its detailed route, you might decide to oppose the detailed route and bring your suggestions to the Board for its consideration at a detailed route hearing.
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