BURNABY, B.C.—Canada’s energy watchdog has overruled bylaws a British Columbia city was trying to use to block Kinder Morgan, Inc. from accessing a local mountain to conduct technical studies for a proposed pipeline expansion.
The National Energy Board (NEB) issued an order granting Kinder Morgan access to Burnaby Mountain to finish its technical studies related to the proposed Trans Mountain project, a $5.4-billion expansion project that would almost triple the pipeline’s current capacity, from 300,000 barrels of oil a day to almost 900,000.
The City of Burnaby, which makes up part of Metro Vancouver area, has been working for months to block the company from accessing Burnaby Mountain, in the city’s north end.
In its ruling granting Kinder Morgan access to the mountain, the NEB said the National Energy Board Act, which it is responsible for enforcing, provides the authority to determine that the bylaws city officials were attempting to use against the Trans Mountain project “are not applicable based on the facts before the board.”
According to the board, the studies about the “proposed pipeline route through Burnaby Mountain are required in order to make a recommendation to the federal government about whether or not this project should proceed.”
“Preventing full access to Burnaby Mountain would be contrary to the purpose of the NEB Act“.
The NEB said it heard from both city and Kinder Morgan officials before making its decision.
It’s the first time the board has issued an order to a municipality.
Under the order, Kinder Morgan must provide the city with 48 hours written notice before entering Burnaby Mountain to carry out the surveys and studies.
The dispute between Kinder Morgan and Burnaby has been going on for months.
Calgary-based Kinder Morgan first applied with the NEB in December 2013 to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline, which would see a portion of the line intersect Burnaby Mountain rather than follow the current route through residential and business areas.
The NEB first ruled in August in favour of the company, granting it access to Burnaby Mountain to conduct the necessary technical studies.