Appeal of NEB pipeline jurisdiction decision ‘highly probable’: B.C. activist

CALGARY — B.C. environmental activist Mike Sawyer says it’s “highly probable” he will appeal a National Energy Board ruling that a pipeline designed to deliver natural gas to the $40-billion LNG Canada project falls under provincial, not federal, jurisdiction.

The NEB ruled Friday against Sawyer’s application which contended the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project proposed by TC Energy Corp. falls under federal jurisdiction because it will connect with the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. pipeline system of northeastern B.C. and northwestern Alberta and therefore crosses a provincial boundary.

The NEB found that the pipeline is not under its jurisdiction because it does not form a part of the Nova system and is not “vital or integral” to it or any other federally regulated pipeline.

It said Coastal GasLink, a 670-kilometre conduit currently under construction, is properly authorized and regulated by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission. The line is to bring gas from the Groundbirch area of British Columbia to LNG Canada’s export terminal near Kitimat, B.C.

Sawyer says he is in discussions with his lawyer about whether to appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal, as he did after the NEB made a similar decision on the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline that was to supply the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

In that case, the appeal court sent the ruling back to the NEB for reconsideration in 2017, but the question was left unanswered when the LNG project and its pipeline were abandoned.

In a brief statement on its website, Coastal GasLink said it is “pleased” with the NEB ruling.

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