July 14th, 2024

Regulator provides its reasons for Trans Mountain route change ruling

By The Canadian Press on October 20, 2023.

Workers place pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. The Canada Energy Regulator has released its reasons for its decision last month to allow Trans Mountain Corp. to go ahead with a pipeline route deviation against the wishes of a B.C. First Nation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CALGARY – The Canada Energy Regulator has released its reasons behind its decision last month to allow Trans Mountain Corp. to go ahead with a pipeline route deviation against the wishes of a B.C. First Nation.

In its written reasons released Friday, the regulator said it agreed with Trans Mountain’s position that being forced to stick to a previously agreed upon route and construction method despite the difficulties encountered tunneling through rock in that area would result in unacceptable delays and cost increases.

Following an oral hearing in September, the regulator ruled in favour of Trans Mountain’s request to slightly alter the route for a 1.3-kilometre stretch of pipeline to be constructed in the Jacko Lake area near Kamloops, B.C.

Trans Mountain’s application was opposed by the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, whose traditional territory the pipeline crosses and who had only agreed to the originally proposed route and construction method.

The First Nation had said the area has “profound spiritual and cultural significance” to their people, and that they only consented to the pipeline’s construction with the understanding that it would minimize surface disturbances by implementing specific trenchless construction methods.

But the regulator said it accepted Trans Mountain’s argument that being forced to continue to attempt tunneling in the originally proposed area could delay the pipeline’s completion by up to 10 months, at a cost of approximately $2 billion in lost operating revenue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

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