NEB releases Reconsideration report for Trans Mountain Expansion Project
Our work as Intervenors in the NEB Reconsideration hearings resulted in being acknowledged at least , but when the political decision was already made, we could not make much of an impact. The following page numbers denote where our submissions were recognized:
408, 410, 448, 478, 482, 498, 518, 534, 613 and 622.
From the National Energy Board Reconsideration of the TM pipeline project , Feb 2019
P408: A number of participants noted the potential multiple benefits of speed reductions. For example, the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves said that reduced speed mitigates acoustic noise, GHG emissions and lowers the probability of marine mammal strikes. Washington State’s Department of Ecology added that speed limits can potentially improve safety and limit air pollution. PPA said the slower speeds can reduce wash and wake effects and reduce impacts on private recreational vessels
P410 : Two other potential lateral displacements, or shifting of shipping lanes, were discussed in the evidence:
Victoria to Race Rocks: The Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves asked about a possible lateral displacement of shipping to the south in the Victoria to Race Rocks area to move it further from shore. VFPA said the ECHO Program looked at a potential southward shift of the shipping lanes in this area, but said that a navigational risk assessment deemed it unacceptable for further examination, and that a similar risk assessment would be required to evaluate the feasibility of lateral displacement within the shipping lanes. Transport Canada said it will be conducting a feasibility study on potential amendments to the Traffic Separation Scheme in this area to explore what may be possible to reduce the impacts of underwater noise on SRKW.
P.448: Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves said Race Rocks Ecological Reserves has been considered for over two decades to be worthy of status as a marine protected area. It said that the Province of B.C. knew the values at Race Rocks decades ago when it received ER status. It said that there has been interest in adding additional protection to Race Rocks by the Federal government but after two decades of talk, nothing has been achieved.
The Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves said that change in shipping lanes can mitigate risk to other high value habitat and can be used to protect high value habitats in Ecological Reserves such as Trial Island, Oak Bay Islands and Race Rocks Ecological Reserves. It said that these reserves, just like SRKW habitat, have shipping lanes that could be moved further offshore to mitigate all shipping impacts. It said that moving shipping lanes is a practical mitigative strategy and when applied to all shipping, will reduce the risk to many high value sensitive ecosystems such as ERs and known high use SRKW areas in Haro Strait.
P. 478: 14.9.2 Baseline data
In the OH-001-2014 hearing, numerous participants raised concerns about the sufficiency of marine resources baseline data. The Board of the Friends of Ecological Reserves and the City of Port Moody raised concerns over the adequacy of baseline data of marine resources (i.e., fish, vegetation, etc.) within Burrard Inlet and along the shipping lanes. They emphasized that such baseline data is crucial in considering what might be lost if there is a spill, determining effects after a spill, and in crafting criteria for monitoring during post-spill restoration efforts. In response, Trans Mountain said that it conducted the marine transportation effects assessment based on up-to-date research, does not believe that additional data collection would affect the conclusions presented in the Application, and that vessel traffic associated with the Project would represent a relatively small proportion of total vessel traffic along the marine shipping lanes.
P.482: 14.11.3 Emergency preparedness and response
National Energy Board Trans Mountain Expansion Project – Reconsideration 518
and the City of Burnaby that a potential large spill for a tanker at anchor in English Bay is not credible. Among other reasons, Trans Mountain said that there is no incident on record of a vessel being struck by another while at anchor in English Bay; in the event of a collision, there would not be sufficient energy to puncture both hulls of a double hull tanker; and a laden tanker would not be likely to anchor in English Bay.
In reaching its conclusions regarding the potential risk of a spill from Project-related marine shipping, the Board has been guided by the precautionary principle. The Board finds that the spill prevention measures proposed by Trans Mountain for Project-related vessels, along with other marine safety measures already in place for all vessels, adequately address potential spill risk associated with the Project. This does not mean that there is a zero incident risk, nor is that possible to achieve. Rather, the potential negative environmental and socio-economic consequences resulting from an incident including spills, although not fully possible to predict, have informed the mitigation for the Project. In the Board’s view, this mitigation has driven the risk of a tanker incident down to an acceptable level.
Considering the existence of a comprehensive marine shipping regulatory scheme under the jurisdiction of competent authorities and the mitigation proposed by Trans Mountain to lessen the probability of an incident occurring, the Board remains of the view that there is an acceptable level of safety in place regarding marine shipping associated with the Project. The comments of the Board’s Marine Technical Advisor support this view.
P. 498: 14.10.6 Human health
The FER said that Trans Mountain’s marine public outreach program should include risks to public health in the event of a marine spill.
P.518: 14.11.3 Emergency preparedness and response
During the MH-052-2018 hearing, many participants such as the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, Cowichan Tribes, Pacheedaht First Nation and numerous other First Nations, Washington State Department of Ecology, District of North Vancouver, Friends of Ecological Reserves, Living Oceans Society and the Province of B.C. continued to raise concerns regarding the ability to respond to an oil spill and appropriate spill response planning.
See the links provided to the full report here
February 22, 2019 – Calgary – National Energy Board
The National Energy Board (NEB) today delivered its Reconsideration report to the Government of Canada, with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved.
The NEB will impose 156 conditions on the Project if it is approved, and has made 16 new recommendations to the Government of Canada. The recommendations relate to matters that fall outside of the NEB’s regulatory mandate, but within the authority of the Government of Canada.
The Reconsideration report concludes that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would likely be significant. While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant. While these effects weighed heavily in the NEB’s consideration of Project-related marine shipping, the NEB recommends that the Government of Canada find that they can be justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable benefits of the Project and measures to minimize the effects.
The considerable benefits of the Project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government.
The Reconsideration specifically examined the impacts of Project-related marine shipping related to the application of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Species at Risk Act (SARA) , as per the Government’s direction to the NEB in September 2018. The NEB has completed the Reconsideration within the 155 day timeline required by the Government of Canada.
If the Project is approved by the Government, the company must comply with 156 conditions, covering a wide range of matters including: emergency preparedness and response, protection of the environment; consultation with affected Indigenous communities; socio-economic matters; pipeline safety and integrity; commercial support for the Project prior to construction; and financial responsibility on the part of the company.
In addition, the NEB has made 16 recommendations to the Government of Canada related to Project-related marine shipping, including: cumulative effects management for the Salish Sea, measures to offset increased underwater noise and increased strike risk posted to SARA-listed marine mammal and fish species, marine oil spill response, marine shipping and small vessel safety, reduction of GHG emissions from marine vessels, and the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Project.
“As indicated in the NEB’s report, the NEB has delivered a comprehensive, evidence-based, fair and meaningful review of Project-related marine shipping, within the timeline required by the Government of Canada. The NEB listened to a range of diverse views and carefully considered all of the evidence submitted, the results of which are reflected in the conclusions, conditions and recommendations presented in the report.”
– Dr. Robert Steedman, Chief Environment Officer, National Energy Board
- The NEB was given 155 days to complete its reconsideration.
- In the Reconsideration hearing, there were:
- 118 Intervenors who participated, including 52 Indigenous groups and individuals, and 8 federal government departments.
- 81 Intervenors who filed written evidence
- 44 Intervenors who asked information requests of other Parties (including of Trans Mountain and federal government departments)
- 25 individual Oral Traditional Evidence sessions in Calgary, Victoria and Nanaimo
- The Reconsideration hearing offered a fair and meaningful opportunity to Parties to participate and to fully present their case and represent their diverse points of view. This included an opportunity to comment on the scope of the environmental assessment and the design of the hearing process, file evidence, present Indigenous oral traditional evidence, question the evidence of other parties, comment on the draft conditions and recommendations, and present final argument.
- The NEB’s Reconsideration report has now been submitted to the Government of Canada. The report is one of the factors that the Government will consider when making the final decision on whether or not the Project should proceed.