NEB restarts Energy East, Eastern Mainline hearings

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) will restart its hearing on TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East crude pipeline from the beginning. The new hearing panel assigned Jan. 9, 2017, to review the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications has voided all decisions made by the previous panel. These decisions will be removed from the official hearing record.

Previous decisions that have been voided include:

• Determination that the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications are complete.

• Decision to review the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications via a single hearing.

• List of Participants and any subsequent individual rulings on participation.

• Lists of Issues and factors to be included in the environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

• The project’s hearing order.

All hearing steps and related deadlines are no longer applicable. The new panel will decide how to move forward with the hearing. NEB says that those who have already submitted an application to participate do not need to reapply. The panel will review all filed applications and release a new list of participants.

The hearing panel also decided that project applicants do not need to refile their applications. If the new panel determines that project applications are complete the 21-month time limit for action will begin anew. NEB cancelled an August 2016 Montreal hearing on the project after it was disrupted by protestors.

Energy East includes 4,500 km of pipeline capable of shipping 1.1-million b/d of crude from Hardisty, Alta., and Moosomin, Sask., to refineries in eastern Canada and marine terminals in Cacouna, Que., and Saint John, NB. About 3,000 km of the pipeline will consist of TransCanada PipeLines Ltd.’s converted Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline, with the other 1,500 km new-build miles. TransCanada expects the project to enter service in 2020.

Eastern Mainline is a proposal to build roughly 279 km of new natural gas pipeline and related components, beginning near Markham, Ont., and finishing near Brouseville, Ont.

TransCanada last year reached agreement with Canadian labor unions and the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada to use members for building Energy East. The project faces opposition from politicians, environmentalists, and First Nations groups.

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