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Canada’s National Energy Board has granted a big win for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners’ (NYSE:KMI) plans to conduct survey work in a Vancouver suburb’s park, despite opposition from local authorities.
The order means the City of Burnaby can’t stop Kinder Morgan, the biggest pipeline company in North America, from carrying out technical work for the planned $4.81 billion (Cdn$5.4bn) expansion of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline, even though it's municipal land.
Burnaby sought to block the company’s access to the site after city officials and crews hired by Kinder Morgan clashed last month over whether the firm was allowed to cut down a handful of trees on the mountain to do survey work for the new route, work Kinder Morgan said the NEB had approved.
Following a hearing earlier this month, the board agreed it could trump local by-laws and ordered the city to stand down.
“Surveys and studies about Trans Mountain’s 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,” the board said in a release.
The NEB Act allows companies to conduct survey work and build pipelines on land without the property owners' permission, but this case with Burnaby was the first-ever conflict involving a municipal land.
Burnaby’s Mayor office told The Vancouver Observer it would now carry this fight to a federal court.
The existing Trans Mountain pipeline corridor from the Burnaby terminal to the Westridge dock contains a single 24-inch outside diameter pipeline which passes under boulevards and streets and through green areas, says Trans Mountain. Approximately two kilometres of the existing pipeline is buried under city of Burnaby streets and the pipeline is directly in front of 11 residences.
The TransMountain expansion project, which would increase pipeline capacity between Edmonton and Burnaby to 830,000 bbls per day from 300,000 bbls per day, proposes two 30-inch pipelines to supply an expanded Westridge marine terminal.
By Cecilia Jamasmie
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