Fact Sheet: Landowners and the NEB
The NEB regulates approximately 73,000 kilometers of pipeline, a lot of which runs through the property of many thousands of landowners across Canada. These landowners are key players in the development, safety and security of pipelines. An important part of our role as a national energy regulator is to make sure the rights and interests of landowners along NEB-regulated pipelines are respected.
The NEB encourages open and respectful communication between the companies we regulate, and the landowners affected by company facilities. We expect companies to start consulting and building relationships with landowners at the planning stage of a project, and to continue this relationship through until a pipeline or facility is no longer in use.
The NEB assists landowners in being active, informed and involved in the projects on their property throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, and are available as a resource for landowners, should any issues or concerns arise. Pre-planning and Application
- The NEB requires regulated companies to communicate with and involve landowners when they are developing projects.
- During a project application, the NEB encourages directly affected landowners to participate in the hearing either as a commentor or as an intervenor.
- The NEB has created Templates for Public Participation to help landowners organize the information required to participate in a hearing process, oppose a detailed pipeline route, object to a right-of-entry request by the company, or file a complaint with the NEB.
- The NEB employs people called Process Advisors, who are specifically trained to help the public understand the application process and how to participate in a hearing.
NEB Land Matters Group
The Land Matters Group (LMG) was established by the Board to increase the dialogue among members of the public, Aboriginal groups and industry who have an interest in land matters and are impacted by the activities of NEB-regulated companies.
The list of members include: The Alberta Energy Regulator, Farmers Advocacy Office (British Columbia), Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec, Union of Ontario Indians, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, West Coast Environmental Law, Synergy Alberta, The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Metis National Council and the NEB.
Members participate in a variety of ways including a Steering Committee and sub-committees that are supported by NEB staff and resources. Group meetings include updates and discussions on emerging issues of the various organizations represented, as well as presentations on various Board initiatives including:
- Proposed changes to Damage Prevention Regulations;
- Safety Culture Framework;
- NEB’s online Application to Participate form;
- Land Agent code of conduct and training;
- Physical Pipeline Abandonment; and
- Administrative Monetary Penalties.
The LMG continues to be a key resource for the Board in providing expert advice for emerging initiatives on content, consultation processes and effective rollout. To learn more about the Land Matter Group or any other landowner-related information, please go to our website at www.neb-one.gc.ca and click on Participation and Lands.
Construction and Operation
- The NEB requires companies to minimize the disturbance to landowner’s property and to compensate them for any damages that may occur.
- The NEB holds companies fully responsible and accountable for full remediation of any effects that occur as a result of their pipeline operations or maintenance activities regardless of cost.
- Should a company not meet NEB requirements, the Board can and will take action by conducting investigations, hiring third party contractors to assess specific concerns, and issuing safety or environmental orders.
- The NEB expects companies to discuss abandonment plans with landowners at the planning stage, to ensure that concerns are discussed and dealt with up front.
- We require a public hearing for any application to abandon a pipeline, to give landowners the opportunity to express their views as to whether proposed abandonment procedures would adequately protect property, safety and the surrounding environment.
- Pipeline companies must demonstrate to the Board’s satisfaction that they have enough money set aside to cover all pipeline abandonment activities.
- The NEB has recently clarified its requirements of companies on decommissioning pipelines, including explicitly stating that we consider decommissioning to be an interim step in the eventual abandonment of a pipeline, in order to provide landowners with additional certainty that a proper and fulsome abandonment process will take place even after a pipe is decommissioned.
Safety is Everyone’s Business!
Whether you are a property-owner operating heavy machinery on your land, a municipal employee, or a contractor planning a project that involves digging, complying with pipeline damage prevention regulations is a must to ensure your safety, the safety of those around you, and the protection of the environment.
As the federal regulatory champion of the Canadian Common Ground Alliance, the National Energy Board works with regional partners and stakeholder groups to raise awareness about safe work practices around pipelines and other buried infrastructure.
We produce several publications that explain the Regulations and safe procedures for anyone working and living around pipelines – including our Guidance for Safe Crossings of NEB-Regulated Pipelines Using Agricultural Vehicles and Mobile Equipment, Excavation and Construction Near Pipelines, and many more. Please visit the NEB web site at www.neb-one.gc.ca and check our Damage Prevention pages to learn more.
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