Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. still has nearly two dozen regulatory conditions to meet before it can begin construction on its intensely controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board (NEB) warned last week.
“Additional compliance requirements must be met for the company to begin construction on any portion of the project,” the Board stated in a letter to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, noting that Kinder had only met 27 of the 49 conditions the agency set for construction of the Westridge export terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.
“Kinder Morgan has said construction on the project will begin in September, but this year’s work will not involve actual pipeline construction,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The work this fall will likely include terminal construction, clearing, and site preparation.”
“The Trans Mountain expansion project is in an ongoing process to meet the conditions required by the NEB to begin construction,” spokesperson Ali Hounsell said in a statement Friday. “This process will continue in step with our activities into the future, keeping in mind that the construction of the project is phased and condition compliance will be ongoing as construction is under way.”
B.C. Environment and Climate Minister George Heyman has already cautioned the company against the September construction start it has promised its investors, noting that the province has accepted only three of eight required environmental management plans. The rest, he said, were rejected because Kinder did not adequately consult with First Nations along the route.
“Until that has been completed,” Heyman stated earlier this month, “Kinder Morgan, with the exception of some private land and some clearing of right-of-way, cannot put shovels in the ground.”
Last week, the NEB said it “has received 452 statements of opposition on the detailed routing of the pipeline expansion, including five from Indigenous groups, and 121 from landowners,” the Globe notes. “A panel of NEB board members is reviewing the statements, and will set up hearings in the fall that will last several months.”
The Board told Carr it also plans to release results of a pre-construction audit of the management systems behind the project, “to evaluate whether Trans Mountain had established the necessary oversight measures in the pre-construction phase to manage safety and environmental protection during construction of the project.”