BREAKING NEWS: National Energy Board approves Enbridge pipeline 9B reversal

By Robert Frank

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) today approved—with conditions—Enbridge’s bid to reverse the flow of it’s oil pipeline linking North Westover, Ontario, to Montreal.

Enbridge already received NEB approval to reverse the flow in the westernmost segment of the pipeline between Sarnia and North Westover, July 27, 2012.

In a telephone conference call with news media, NEB spokeswoman Carole Léger-Kubeczek said that NEB has issued two orders in respect of its decision.

“One is for the integrity of the pipeline,” she said. “The other is for financial matters. There are 30 conditions for the physical aspect of the approval.”

“They deal with all the questions pertaining to the insecurity and security of the pipeline, questions pertaining to the environment and consultations that Enbridge must put in place,” Léger-Kubecek explained. “A broad range of questions.”

“Every time that Enbridge fulfils a condition, it must submit a document to say that it has complied,” she said. “The [National Energy Board] wants to do its own inspection of all work that has been done to ensure that all conditions have really been inspected.”

“It’s like a final check,” she said. “We want to ensure that it’s done correctly. One of the pillars at NEB is the protection of the environment and the people who live in proximity of the pipeline.”

She observed that the approval process for Enbridge’s pipeline 9B reversal proposal “was more complicated that one would normally anticipate.”

“It is a pipeline that has existed for quite some time so there was a lot of material to view,” Léger-Kubeczek said. “The project not only looked at the environmental assessment for the current application but also information that was provided when the pipeline was first approved and when [the flow] was [first] reversed, as well as when the decision was made last year [to approve the reversal in the westernmost portion of the pipeline] from Sarnia to Westover.”

“The decision of the board is final,” Léger-Kubeczek declared. “Since 2012, there is not a requirement for cabinet approval, since it falls under Section 58 of the NEB Act, as it entails less than 40 km of new build.”

“If it fell under Section 52 like the Trans Mountain or Energy East projects, if it was to be approved, then it would have to go to [the federal] cabinet for approval,” she said.

“There is a possibility based on the NEB Act and the NEB rules of practise and process to ask the board to reconsider,” Léger-Kubeczek added. “An appeal has to be filed within 30 days of the decision.”
She said that Enbridge has until March 6, 2015, to comply with NEB’s conditions, “otherwise the approval will expire.”

More to follow.

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