NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. – Edson Mainline Expansion Project
On April 3, 2019, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corporation), filed an application under Sections 52 and 58 of Part III and Part IV of the National Energy Board (NEB) Act to construct and operate the NGTL Edson Mainline Expansion Project (the Project).
This Project is an expansion to the existing NGTL System, adding approximately 85 kilometers of pipeline in two sections, and associated facilities including valve sites and pipeline tie-ins.
The NGTL Edson Mainline Expansion Project required a federal Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Since the proposed pipeline, in aggregate, exceeds 40 km in length and will be regulated by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly the NEB, the Project is a “designated project” under the Regulations Designating Physical Activities. As a designated project, the NEB Act required that an environmental assessment be prepared under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).
CER Recommendation Report:
Following an assessment by the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (the Commission), the Commission determined that the Project is in the Canadian public interest and released its Recommendation Report on November 19, 2020. The Report recommended that the Project be approved, subject to 24 conditions that would be attached to the Section 52 Certificate, and would impose 23 conditions on the Order for the Section 58 Facilities and Activities that would be issued in respect of the Project.
NRCan as Crown Consultation Coordinator:
In January 2016, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced interim measures to be applied to projects undergoing regulatory review as part of a long-term plan to review the environmental assessment process and modernize the CER. During the interim period, the Government’s decisions on major projects, including this Project, was guided by five principles:
- No project proponent was asked to return to the starting line;
- Decisions were based on science, traditional knowledge of Aboriginal peoples, and other relevant evidence;
- The views of the public and affected communities were sought and considered;
- Indigenous peoples were meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests were accommodated; and,
- Direct and upstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to the Project were assessed.
For this Project, the Major Projects Management Office (MPMO) at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) served as Crown consultation coordinator and relied upon the CER Hearing process, to the extent possible, to fulfil any duty to consult. Through supplemental consultations, the Crown consultation team sought to engage with Indigenous groups to understand the nature and seriousness of any potential outstanding impacts to Indigenous interests not otherwise addressed by Project conditions and proponent commitments.
In accordance with the 2016 Interim Approach for Major Project Assessment, Environment Climate Change Canada (ECCC) determined that an upstream GHG assessment Part A, to quantify the range of GHG emissions released as a result of upstream activities associated with the Project, was required.
TC Energy (the Proponent) completed an upstream GHG assessment Part A in consideration of the methodology described by ECCC in the Canada Gazette on March 19, 2016 (Government of Canada, 2016). ECCC has reviewed the upstream GHG assessment completed by TC Energy. The public comment period for the report closed on March 26, 2021.
Extension to the Legislated Time Limit for the Government's Decision on the Project:
In response to COVID-19, the Governor in Council (GiC) extended the legislative timeline for consultations with Indigenous groups on the Project by four months, extending the decision date on the Project from February 19, 2021 to no later than June 19, 2021. This was to ensure that the duty to consult with potentially impacted Indigenous groups could be meaningfully fulfilled in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous communities.
On June 17, 2021, the GiC approved the issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity by the CER, allowing NGTL to construct and operate the Project under and in accordance with Sections 52 and 58 of the NEB Act, subject to the conditions.
In response to concerns raised by Indigenous groups, the Minister of Natural Resources recommended to the GiC the inclusion of the following new condition for the Section 52 certificate:
Condition 25 - Support for Indigenous Groups to Review NGTL Filings Related to Conditions
The Crown Consultation and Accommodation Report (CCAR) for the Project describes the outcome of the Crown’s consultation process with potentially impacted Indigenous groups, including the responses to concerns raised by groups, with respect to the Project.
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