Detailed Route Approval Process
Landowners play a vital role in the development of Canada’s energy resources. The National Energy Board (NEB or Board) has about 73,000 kilometres of pipelines under its jurisdiction – almost enough to wrap around the Earth twice. In order for a pipeline to be built, a specific location must be identified and the necessary land rights need to be obtained by pipeline companies from affected landowners.
Once a Certificate is issued, what happens?
A company must get additional approvals from the NEB for its detailed route. It must provide a notice to affected landowners and the general public, who then have 30 days to oppose the location of the route or the methods or timing of construction. A detailed route hearing may occur prior to a decision being made by the NEB about the route. The company cannot begin construction activities until land rights are acquired, the route is approved, and the drawings are deposited at the registry of deeds or land titles office.
What kind of notice and route information is provided?
If your lands are crossed by the pipeline right of way and your lands are required by the company, they will provide you with a personally served notice that includes maps, property sketches, and the detailed measurements of the right of way or temporary work space and where the pipeline or other facilities will be built. Anyone else might see a newspaper advertisement with route information. The company will make available drawings and documents showing the full route. These are called the Plan, Profile, and Book of Reference (PPBoR) and can usually be viewed online from the NEB’s website, or at a local library.
What if I don’t agree with the proposed location?
If you are a landowner or have another interest in the lands, you can file a written statement of opposition with the NEB within 30 days of receiving personal notice or 30 days of the publication date of a notice. You can oppose the route based on the location of the pipeline or the methods or timing of construction. A detailed route hearing may be held so that the Board may listen to landowners’ routing concerns. After a detailed route hearing, the Board will decide if the route is approved or not approved. If the route is not approved, the company has to identify a new route and begin the detailed route approval process again with notices. Approval of the project itself and disputes over compensation are not addressed during a detailed route hearing.
What happens if the route is approved?
If the NEB approves the route, it certifies the PPBoR, which the company then provides to the local registry or land title office. The company can then begin construction activities if it has acquired the necessary land rights and met any applicable conditions.
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