UBCM Meets with National Energy Board

On April 24, UBCM met with the National Energy Board (NEB) to discuss local government concerns regarding pipeline safety, environmental protection, and NEB related infrastructure.

This meeting was a part of the NEB’s National Outreach Initiative that was launched in November 2014 with the intention to visit every province and the North to hear from Canadians on how the Board can improve its pipeline safety program.

UBCM President Sav Dhaliwal presented an overview of UBCM’s policy positions, including recently endorsed resolutions 2014-LR1 and 2014-LR3. Resolution 2014- LR1 requested that the federal government and the NEB restore the full public hearing process when considering applications; and resolution 2014-LR3 asked the NEB to require all pipeline operators to provide site specific consequence analyses and response plans and tactics for submerged and sunken oil to be subject to public review and approval by impacted communities, and conduct a full assessment of response plans, tactics, equipment and capacity currently available within BC to respond to sunken or submerged oil.

Through UBCM resolutions, President Dhaliwal also advised that BC local governments had:

  • opposed the expansion of oil tanker traffic on the coast;
  • opposed tar sands oils being shipped through pipelines for loading onto crude oil tankers;
  • asked that all pipeline projects undergo the highest degree of environmental assessment;
  • requested response plans for high-risk areas;
  • asked for wildlife system and ecosystem restoration that is 100% funded by industry;
  • requested a 100% industry funded contingency fund for clean up and damages, research into improving clean up methods and other resources;
  • asked that local governments be compensated for any resources used in response and restoration efforts.

Peter Watson, Chair and CEO of the NEB, noted that the public hearing process had not been changed and that the panel can receive either written or oral presentations on current applications. With respect to the Kinder Morgan application, the panel received requests from 400 intervenors, and concluded that the best way to receive comments was through written submissions. 

The NEB also advised that they are involved in the whole lifecycle of a project, which includes the application and public hearing process as well as ensuring that the project meets its regulatory requirements.

Mr. Watson expressed an interest in future conversations with UBCM and its members, and sought an opportunity to participate in the 2015 UBCM Convention. He also advised that a Vancouver Office of the NEB had recently been opened to better engage with affected communities in BC.

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