On Tuesday, the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator will resume hearings to determine the detailed route for the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project in Spruce Grove, Alberta. These hearings are the first since regulatory processes on the TMX pipeline project resumed in July 2019.
Tuesday’s hearing will be for Segment 2 with a second hearing held on February 19, 2020. The hearings for Segments 3 and 4 will take place on January 28 and February 20, 2020. The hearings for segments 5 through 7 have yet to be scheduled.
According to CER, detailed route hearings are required where an objection to the detailed route exists. They will allow the Commission to decide if the exact location of the pipeline is the best possible and to confirm the most appropriate methods and timing of construction.
Landowners whose lands are proposed to be crossed by the pipeline, as well as Indigenous groups and other persons whose lands may be adversely affected were able to object to the detailed route proposed in the TMX project.
To date, landowners representing more than 95 per cent of land parcels along the right-of-way for the TMX Project, have consented to the detailed route of the pipeline project and route hearings for Segment 1 of the Expansion Project have been completed.
The Commission granted detailed route hearings where material changes in circumstances have been identified since 2018, or where hearings had been granted but not completed prior to the Court decision stopping the Project in 2018.
Construction of Trans Mountain Expansion project was halted in August of 2018 after a Federal Court of Appeal decision set aside the federal government’s approval of the project.
In February of 2019, the Reconsideration Report was released and confirmed the recommendation that certificates should be issued for the project. This included amending six conditions, and converting one condition into one of 16 recommendations to mitigate impacts from project-related marine shipping.
On June 18, 2019, the Trudeau government re-approved the 1,147 kilometre long project, subject to 156 conditions.
Currently, 68 per cent of the pipeline’s detailed route has been approved. Announcements of further detailed route hearings for the pipeline stretching southwest past Kamloops and into B.C.’s Lower Mainland region are expected shortly.
Construction is permitted in areas where applicable conditions have been satisfied and the detailed route of the pipeline has been approved. Pipeline construction is currently underway along Alberta portions, as well as at the Edmonton and Burnaby Terminals, and the Westridge Marine Terminal.