Canada’s NEB Dismisses CGL Jurisdictional Challenge [UPDATE]
Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) dismissed July 26 a challenge that the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline, which will deliver natural gas from northeastern BC to LNG Canada’s liquefaction terminal in Kitimat, should be regulated at the federal, rather than provincial, level.
In a 47-page ruling, the NEB said it has determined that CGL does not fall within its jurisdiction, that it is not part of TC Energy’s Nova Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL) system, which is regulated by the NEB, and that it is not vital or integral to either the NGTL system or any other federally-regulated pipeline.
The board’s ruling is in response to a challenge brought by BC environmentalist Michael Sawyer in July 2018, who asserted that since CGL would be an extension of the NGTL system, and would ultimately move Alberta natural gas to the LNG Canada terminal, it should be regulated by the NEB, rather than by the BC Oil & Gas Commission.
Earlier this year, the board held a public hearing to gather evidence regarding Sawyer’s challenge. The process – with 13 active participants – included written and oral argument, specifically related to whether CGL forms part of a federal work or undertaking under the Canadian Constitution.
“Based on the evidence presented, the NEB found that the Coastal GasLink pipeline project is properly regulated by the province of British Columbia,” the NEB said in a news release. The pipeline, the board ruled, will exist solely to move gas entirely within BC to the LNG Canada terminal.
In a statement issued after the ruling was released, CGL said it was pleased that the board had found its project to be a local work and an undertaking properly regulated by the province of BC.
“This is a single-line natural gas pipeline located entirely within BC,” CGL said. “Its only purpose is transport of natural gas within the province - from the Dawson Creek area to LNG Canada’s facility in Kitimat.”
In its decision, the board said it would not refer the jurisdictional issue to the Federal Court of Appeal, although it is widely expected that Sawyer will seek leave to appeal the NEB’s ruling to the federal court. In an email to NGW, William Andrews, the Vancouver lawyer who represented Sawyer in the proceeding, said his client was “disappointed with the NEB’s decision” and was examining the board’s ruling before deciding whether to file an appeal.