Citizen Action Monitor

National Energy Board decision raises game-changing possibility of city bylaws trumping Big Energy interests

NEB rejects Kinder Morgan’s motion to forbid Burnaby BC from blocking pipeline work, kicks ball back to KM and the courts

No 1157 Posted by fw, October 2, 2014

In my September 25 post about this same story, I didn’t fully grasp the potentially game-changing significance of these two paragraphs —

The NEB’s federal decision made public Thursday afternoon means Kinder Morgan will not proceed with its pipeline test drilling work in a protected forest area of Burnaby Mountain, until the company returns with a much larger legal offensive, with thorny constitutional implications.

Such a legal battle could have huge ripples for pipeline projects across Canada – deciding if local city governments — and not just the federal Harper government — can have a say in oil pipeline approvals

It wasn’t until I read the story posted below, which clearly spells out NEB’s guidance to KB to “raise constitutional questions” about NEB’s authority in resolving the dispute, that the game-changing significance became apparent.

Here’s a highly condensed version of my interpretation of the gist of today’s post.

In the latest skirmish between the City of Burnaby, BC and Kinder Morgan, the National Energy Board (NEB) rejected Kinder Morgan’s motion to forbid Burnaby from blocking pipeline survey work. The NEB told Kinder Morgan it must first raise constitutional questions about whether the Board has the legal authority to determine if city bylaws apply to corporations. If this matter is brought to court, a decision in Burnaby’s favour would be a game changer, giving municipal bylaws precedence over corporate interests.

To read the original Canadian Press story, published by the Vancouver Sun, click on the following linked title. An abridged version is posted below.

National Energy Board quashes Kinder Morgan pipeline survey motion by Canadian Press, September 27, 2014

The National Energy Board has dismissed a motion by Kinder Morgan asking the federal regulator to forbid the City of Burnaby from blocking the company’s pipeline survey work.

The board says in a decision released Thursday that Kinder Morgan is essentially asking it to force Burnaby not to enforce its bylaws, and the board can’t do that.

It says before it can decide on such an order, Kinder Morgan must first raise constitutional questions about whether the board actually has the legal authority to determine if the bylaws apply to the company.

The motion was filed by Kinder Morgan earlier this month after Burnaby halted the company’s survey work, saying cutting down trees and boring large holes in the ground violate the city’s bylaws.

At issue is Burnaby’s opposition to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s proposal to tunnel through Burnaby Mountain in its attempt to survey a new pipeline route.

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2014 by in environmental activism, legal counterpower and tagged , , .
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