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    CGL Asks Canadian Regulator for More Time


Three weeks to prepare evidence for jurisdictional review is not enough time.

by: Dale Lunan

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CGL Asks Canadian Regulator for More Time

Coastal GasLink (CGL), the TransCanada subsidiary contracted to build the C$6.2bn (US$4.6bn) pipeline serving the LNG Canada liquefaction terminal on Canada’s west coast, has asked for more time to file its initial evidence to a National Energy Board (NEB) review of the project’s jurisdiction.

In a December 17 letter to the board, CGL says it needs more time to file additional evidence in the matter, and asks that the NEB’s original December 28 deadline for that evidence be extended by four weeks.

“To address the jurisdictional issues raised in this hearing, CGL’s evidence will necessarily be technical and multi-faceted, engaging topics such as corporate governance and reporting, commercial arrangements between CGL and its customers, construction and operation of the pipeline, CGL’s corporate structure and future plans, and upstream supply options,” CGL says in its letter. “Less than three weeks to prepare such evidence, particularly over the December holiday period, is not enough time.”

CGL’s proposed alternative timetable would set January 25, 2019 as the deadline for its initial evidence and extend by one week the time set for intervenors to respond to any information requests. Oral final arguments would then be held in April 2019 rather than in March 2019 under the board’s original schedule.

But Michael Sawyer, the BC environmentalist who brought the jurisdictional issue before the NEB, “strongly opposes” CGL’s request for an extension, and argues that the pipeline company has had “abundant notice” that the jurisdiction of its project might become an issue.

“CGL has known it would have to provide evidence ever since the board’s October 22, 2018 decision letter,” William Anderson, Sawyer’s attorney, said in a December 18 letter to the board. “This gives CGL ample time – more than two months – to prepare and file its evidence by the current deadline of December 28.”

Noting that CGL and other corporate and government intervenors in the jurisdictional review have “almost unlimited resources” to expand the depth and duration of the proceeding while Sawyer himself has no access to participant funding, Anderson suggests that “time is of the essence” in resolving the jurisdiction issue.

“This is highlighted by CGL’s public statements…that it wishes to begin construction of the project as early as January 2019.”

Sawyer would be willing to delay the proceeding by one week, Anderson said, providing the overall schedule set by the NEB on December 10 is retained. That would require the board to eliminate CGL’s right to submit reply evidence by February 14, 2019 (or March 19, 2019 under CGLs proposed new timetable) – a right which Anderson claims CGL is not entitled to since it is “not the applicant in this proceeding.”