Land Matters Group Steering Committee - Meeting Summary - 6 October 2014

Monday, 06 October 2014
8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
NEB Hearing Room

Participants
Participants:

Amanda Affonso – The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA)

Fraser Paterson – The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA)

Isabelle Bouffard - Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec (UPA)

Pierre Lemieux - Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec (UPA)

Greg Northey – Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA)

Gary Redmond - Synergy Alberta

Elvin Gowman-BC Farmers Advocate

Marta Darwent – Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)

Jamie Kereliuk – National Energy Board (NEB)

Jamie Ballem – National Energy Board (NEB)

Guests
Guests:

Peter Watson – Chairman, NEB

Presenters
Presenters:

Michael Benson - NEB

Chantal Briand – NEB

Albert Louie – NEB

Suchaet Bhardwaj – NEB

Peter Budgell - NEB

NEB support
NEB support:

Peter Budgell, Lorna Patterson, Thea Wingert, Sylvie Johnson

Agenda Item, Decisions / Actions / Messages, Updates on Decisions/Actions
AGENDA ITEM DECISIONS / ACTIONS / MESSAGES UPDATES ON DECISIONS/ACTIONS

1. Welcome / Introductions

Jamie Kereliuk is the Chairman of the LMG Steering Committee

 

2. Confirm proposed agenda

Agenda confirmed

 

3. Current Priorities: Round Table

Steering Committee members shared current projects or issues of interest from their organizations

 

 

4. NEB’s role in General Easement Agreements

NEB staff gave a brief presentation outlining its current role in general easement agreements.

It was noted that NRCan is where disputes are handled currently and it was requested that they come in to give a presentation on their process.

The group then discussed way the NEB could change its handling of easement agreements and it was decided that the Workplan be changed to reflect a Part B of the currently existing item that would look further into how the NEB could monitor more elements of easement agreements.

  1. NEB Staff will provide all Easement Agreements filed with the Board.
  2. Presentation by NRCan outlining its process regarding easement agreements.
  3. The Workplan will be changed as per the group discussion

5. Damage Prevention Regulations

An outline was presented of the changes to the Damage Prevention Regulations as part of the public consultation process.

Wide-ranging discussion took place regarding the specifics of the changes. Depth of cover, monitoring of land activities and administrative monetary penalties were all discussed at length.

  1. Item will be left on the Workplan.
  2. The LMG and other public entities have until October 20th to submit comment as per the regular process.

6. Transparency of Emergency Management Info.

An overview of the current state of emergency management information that is publically available was given. The question of what information would be important to stakeholders was then posed.

The group identified several areas where information should be required of pipeline companies such as; composition of petroleum being transported, who should be contacted in the case of an emergency and the exact location of pipelines.

Caution was noted regarding making personal information of company employees available publically.

  1. Staff will conduct phone and/or web based information gathering campaign.

7. Terms of Reference review

The addition of a definition for the Board Member Liaison was introduced as well as additional details to define sub-committee within the LMG

  1. The Terms of Reference will be changed to reflect the new material as discussed.

8. Workplan Review: New/Upcoming Items?

NEB to update work plan based on discussion, and provide to steering committee for review.

Updated work plan and will provide for review with minutes

9. Priority Items for next meeting

Priorities to be revisited at the next conference call.

Item 4: General Easement Agreements

NEB staff gave a brief presentation outlining the NEB’s role in the acquisition of land rights. At present the NEB does not have any authority, process or mechanism to examine signed agreements between landowners and companies. The NEB suggested options to improve the acquisition of land rights (for example, the NEB’s appropriate dispute resolution service, templates, regulations or guidance, education program, the NRCan process).

It was noted that NRCan is where disputes about compensation are handled currently and it was requested that they come in to give a presentation on their process. The discussion also pointed out that the NRCAN process for dispute resolution can be time consuming. There was an initiative to improve the process with a view to expediting claims but it is unclear whether that initiative was completed or whether it had effected change within the NRCan process.

The group expressed concern that more onus is being placed on landowners to monitor the safety of pipelines and that the NEB should look at changing the regulations so that pipeline companies carry more of this burden. The NEB Act currently sets out the minimum provisions that must be included in an easement agreement and it was suggested that there are other elements that should be included.

The group then discussed ways in which the NEB could change its handling of easement agreements. It was decided that the Workplan be changed to reflect a Part B of the currently existing easement agreement item that would examine potential changes to the NEB’s authority, process or mechanisms related to easement agreements, in order to better protect the rights and interests of landowners.

Item 5: Damage Prevention Regulations

An outline was presented of the changes to the Damage Prevention Regulations as part of the public consultation process.

A large proportion of the discussion dealt with the conditions set to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment when crossing a pipeline to perform agricultural activity and the depth of acceptable surface disturbance, which is currently reflected as 30cm. The group pointed out that provincial legislation addressing this issue varied from the current NEB regulatory approach and suggested that the regulations should be changed to harmonize with provincial legislation.

Other points discussed included:

  • Communication of the changes to the regulations is key so that all parties have a clear understanding
  • Regulation should be kept flexible so that agreements can be reached on conditions specific to a particular pipeline.
  • Increased monitoring of work happening within the pipeline ROW is being required of the landowners. This represents significant burdens both in financial terms and in the level of responsibility being placed on the landowners.
  • The proposed changes will lead to better communication between pipeline companies and landowners.

The project managers outlined that the changes were now out for public comment and that the Steering Committee was welcome to provide additional feedback though the regular comment procedure as noted on the NEB website. In addition, comments received from the discussion at the meeting would be taken into consideration.

Item 6: Transparency of Emergency Management Information

An overview of the current state of emergency management information that is publically available was given. The question of what information would be important to stakeholders was then posed. One of the goals of the project is to determine how much emergency management information is currently considered confidential and realistically how much information could be made public going forward.

The group identified several areas where information should be required of pipeline companies such as; composition of petroleum being transported, who should be contacted in the case of an emergency and the exact location of pipelines.

The Steering Committee indicated that information pertaining to the specific chemicals being transported in a particular pipeline was required by landowners to test the groundwater for contamination.  The group asserted that public safety and water protection should take precedent regarding any proprietary claims over the description of pipeline contents. 

CEPA indicated that emergency management information was a topic currently being discussed by its member companies and that the companies are currently self-assessing what information they have publically available. A key initiative of this work at CEPA is to ensure that all companies will pool resources in an emergency scenario.

The project managers indicated that they would develop a questionnaire with input from Steering Committee members which could then be used to get feedback from the larger LMG.  It was hoped that the project could be complete in Q1 2015. The group then discussed how best to present this information to the public. The Steering Committee expressed support for having the info available on the NEB website and also noted that integrating the information with similar information available through provincial regulators would be useful.

Date modified: