Right of Way Issues and Solutions - Questions and Answers

It seemed from the earlier presentations that while landowners are the first to be consulted about pipelines, the municipalities and regions should also be included in the entire process. What efforts do you as landowners make to consult with municipalities and regions before agreeing to new pipelines or changes to pipelines?

Municipal roads, utilities and other property are frequently located adjacent to landowner property so municipal permitting processes allow pipeline projects to be known to the community and decisions are unlikely to be made in isolation. Furthermore, when municipalities receive information regarding pipeline projects (new ones or modification of existing ones), it is imperative to communicate with landowners that will be directly affected prior to any validation and even before discussion begins on the project.

What thoughts are there regarding abandonment in place vs pipeline removal?

Landowners prefer that a pipeline be removed once its useful life has been reached. The reasons range from the need to request permission from the company in order to achieve certain agricultural or forestry work, even if the pipeline is abandoned, the inconvenience of infrastructure where future development may occur to potential issues with the pipe to interfere with landowner activities and concerns about long term liability. It is understood that the NEB public hearing process for abandonment allows for this topic to be discussed on a site by site basis. In addition, Bill C46 and the NEB requirement that funds be set aside for post-abandonment care of the pipeline provides for some assurance that issues will be dealt with if the pipeline is left in place.

Somewhat concerned with the comment that landowners are the first on the scene to respond to a pipeline-related incident. I'm not aware of any pipeline company educational materials that advocate this. In fact, it's quite the opposite - shelter in place, leave the site and call 911 once you reached a safe distance, warn others to stay away, etc.

Over the years pipeline companies have advocated in their written material provided landowners that they are the company’s “First Line of Defence”. It is the people living and working “on” the ground that are usually the first to identify a pipeline leak and call it in. The context of the comment was that landowners are often the first to discover a pipeline release on their property and as a result contact the appropriate agency in accordance with instructions from the pipeline company through their public awareness material. This action is a defense to the situation becoming worse if it went undiscovered.

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