Commission of the CER Approves Trans Mountain's Route Deviation Application; Reasons to follow
CALGARY, AB, Sept. 25, 2023 /CNW/ - Today, the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) approved Trans Mountain's application for a route deviation in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area. The Commission will release its reasons for decision in the coming weeks.
On August 10, 2023, Trans Mountain submitted an application to revise the route and method of construction for a 1.3 km section of the pipeline route, in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area. The company indicated that it had encountered significant technical challenges while attempting to complete micro-tunnelling along the previously approved route. In response to these issues, Trans Mountain proposed a combined approach of horizontal directional drilling and conventional open trenching along the revised route.
Stk'emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) responded to the application, as the area holds profound spiritual and cultural significance to the Nation and Peoples. An oral hearing was held in Calgary on September 18, 19 and 20, 2023, to hear submissions from both parties on the application. The hearing included the provision of Indigenous knowledge by SSN, as well as cross-examination and final argument.
The Commission does, from time to time, issue a decision with reasons to follow. Either companies or interested parties may request an expedited decision to quickly address their concerns or provide certainty.
The Commission is responsible for adjudicative decisions, operating as a quasi-judicial body that is arm's length from other parts of the CER governance structure and the federal government. The Commission is part of the CER and, although its adjudicative role is independent, it contributes to the overall effective delivery of the CER's mandate and corporate outcomes.
The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We review energy development projects and share energy information, all while enforcing some of the strictest safety and environmental standards in the world. To find out how the CER is working for you, visit us online or connect on social media.
Trans Mountain Expansion Project: Key routing milestones in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area (2019-2023)
June 18: The Governor in Council approved the 1,147 km Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) and its general pipeline corridor, subject to 156 conditions.
July 19: The NEB directed Trans Mountain to submit its Plan, Profile, and Book of Reference (PPBoR) for the TMEP's entire route. The PPBoR provides detailed information about the pipeline including its precise location on the properties it crosses and landowner information.
July 31: Trans Mountainsubmitted its PPBoR for Segment 5 of the TMEP (the TMEP is divided into seven segments). This included details for a subsection, Segment 5.3, which passes through the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area of British Columbia.
September 5: The Stk'emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) opposed the TMEP route for much of Segment 5, including all of Segment 5.3, and sought a detailed route hearing.
November 4: SSN withdrew their opposition before any detailed route hearing was held. SSN indicated that Trans Mountain had addressed their routing concerns. The route outlined on July 31 would remain the same, subject to any other detailed route hearings for the area.
April 6: The Commission of the CER issued a combined decision following detailed route hearings for KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. and Sugarloaf Ranches Limited lands in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area.
April 30: The Commission approved various PPBoR sheets (and the route shown on them) for Segments 3, 4, and 5.3, including for lands in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area.
February 11: Trans Mountainapplied for a deviation, or route revision, for a stretch of the pipeline in Segment 5.3. The route revision involved a construction method shift from trenching to micro-tunnelling for about 4.2 km in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area. SSN had worked with Trans Mountain to develop this route and agreed to it in January, as Trans Mountain explained in its application.
August 10: Trans Mountain sought approval for another deviation for 1.3 km of the pipeline in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area due to issues encountered with micro-tunnelling. Trans Mountain proposed reverting back to the original route approved in April 2020 and changing its construction method from micro-tunnelling to a combination of horizontal directional drilling and open cut trenching.
September 18-20: After multiple written steps, the Commission held an in-person hearing in Calgary to hear submissions from Trans Mountain and SSN on the application. The hearing included the provision of Indigenous knowledge by SSN, as well as cross-examination and final argument.
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