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article imageHomeowners still haven't signed agreements with Trans Mountain

By Karen Graham     Jul 22, 2019 in Business
Ottawa - After 68 months of contested hearings, an appellate court setback, a government takeover, and two federal cabinet approvals, an extra step will prolong the Canadian regulatory ordeal of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
The 1,150-kilometer (750 miles) Trans Mountain expansion project between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. was finally reapproved, and it was decided that construction would again resume this year on the hotly contested $7.4-billion pipeline, or so it seemed.
However, the National Energy Board (NEB) ordered the project to first give a second chance to object to all 2,800 landowners along the oil conduit’s route across Alberta and British Columbia. This means every homeowner along the route, even those who originally signed an easement agreement with Trans Mountain, will need to do so again.
After the NEB's ruling on Friday, Trans Mountain held off on making any predictions on a date when it would begin construction, saying that the new directive and its effects on the construction date would be reviewed in the coming weeks.
If that isn't enough, the NED has yet to rule on another issue: a request to let construction begin Aug. 5 at the line’s Edmonton inlet and Burnaby outlet in Vancouver Harbor, and Sept. 1 on the pipe. Trans Mountain says a delay in the start dates would postpone work until the 2020 construction season.
The Canadian federal government stepped in to buy and effectively nationalize the Trans Mountain pip...
The Canadian federal government stepped in to buy and effectively nationalize the Trans Mountain pipeline after mounting legal challenges and environmental protests (pictured March 2018) stalled the project
Jason Redmond, AFP/File
Reopening the PPBOR is a lengthy process
Known as PPBOR for “plan, profile, book of reference,” the process involves landowner consultations and includes formal notices of precise work intentions and allows landowners 30 days to file formal opposition statements that trigger NEB reviews, dispute resolution activity and hearings into fights.
CBC Canada talked to Robin Scory, a homeowner who lives on an 138-acre property in Aldergrove, B.C. with his wife and four dogs. While the original Trans Mountain Pipeline cuts through his property, he hasn't signed a new acquisition agreement with Trans Mountain for the expansion.
After talking to a land agent sent by Trans Mountain a few years ago, and not getting any answers to his questions concerning his privacy and safety during construction and issues with the existing pipeline where it crosses a creek on his property, Scory decided to hire his own land agent and recommends other people hire one if they're approached with an easement agreement.
Needless to say, Trans Mountain is not happy with the NEB's order, saying: "Requiring Trans Mountain to submit, publish and serve new PPBORs would result in unnecessary duplication and delays, and risk undermining the significant efforts that have been taken by Trans Mountain and other parties to settle the detailed route.”
And the federal government has not done too well with its ownership of the pipeline. After spending C$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion) purchase of Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. last year, "the federal treasury lost C$36 million ($27 million) on its first seven months of pipeline ownership because interest charges on borrowing for the takeover exceeded Trans Mountain operating profits," according to Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office.
More about trans mountain, easement agreement, National Energy Board, repeat landowner hearings, Construction
 
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