Evidence of meeting #25 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was money.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Yes, thanks. I might follow up in a second.

I was looking through your landowner guide that you publish on your website. I'm just trying to get a sense of a right-of-way. The landowner guide indicates that you require between 40 feet and 100 feet beside any pipeline that's laid. And then there is a safety zone that has to be 100 feet on either side of that, so it could be a swath of land of up to 300 feet.

Does the company have to own that entire 300 feet, or maybe you can...?

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I'll let Mr. Smyth supplement my answer. I'll be brief and I'll have him give you more specific numbers.

For the pipeline, you have the right to have the pipeline occupy the land of the landowner. You don't need to own it, but you must pay for the right of being on the right-of-way, and it is something over which the pipeline company can, subject to a land agreement, operate its vehicles for operation and maintenance or emergency response.

Beyond that, there is a safety zone in the act, administered by us and issued by Parliament, that is to keep people safe, and before anyone can do things on that safety zone, in some circumstances they have a duty to call the company—like a “call before you dig” kind of approach—with possibilities for exemptions for that, as long as there is a protocol approved by the board for that.

For the specific lengths, I'll let Mr. Smyth give you a bit more detail if you would like to hear it.

February 9th, 2012 / 9:50 a.m.

Patrick Smyth Business Unit Leader, Operations, National Energy Board

As to the right-of-way itself, it's going to depend on the diameter of the pipe, the terrain it crosses through, and a number of other variables. The right-of-way itself could be from 4 metres to 12 metres, typically; and then from the edge of the right-of-way out on either side would be the safety zone of 30 metres. So for any activities that a landowner would intend to do within the safety zone and certainly in the right-of-way, there is a requirement to contact the company.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Could I just move that along? So we have an idea of the expropriation process and the width required for rights-of-way. For example, I have the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline passing into my riding. I've traced it back, and it goes through 15 first nations reserves.

I wonder what the process is when it comes to reserves. I've looked at the pipeline, I've walked along a lot of it, and it comes very close to different houses, probably within this right-of-way, so there would probably have to be some kind of extension if they were going to dig the whole thing up and then lay another pipe next to it.

I just wonder how that works within first nations. There is a First Nations Land Management Act—two different ways that first nations administer their land—and I just wonder if you could fill us in a bit on how that works.

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

Thank you.

For the original pipeline, it would have been something sorted out at the time the first pipeline was proposed and certified with the board, with all the protocol that was described to you of negotiating a location and compensation.

If there is a pipeline twinning proposed—we call this a pipeline loop—then the process starts over again. It is the responsibility of the company to engage early with aboriginal people and other Canadians to see whether there can be an arrangement between the people and the company in terms of the technical aspects and the compensation aspects.

NEB staff will be part of the process if we are invited to explain the rights of people, the rights they have under the legislation and Canadian laws. If a dispute occurs, then it's a panel of board members who will hear the case.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

In the end, who has the right to decide what happens with that land? Because it is crown land on reserves.

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

To the extent that it's a legal question we'll refrain from answering it. But for the purpose of an NEB Act pipeline being certified, if the Governor in Council approves a recommendation in a report to certify a pipeline, the pipeline is a necessity in the public convenience and it has the right as a pipeline to be there.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

So you could see a possibility with Kinder Morgan twinning or with Enbridge where the crown would order land to be released from reserves for this pipeline.

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I don't know that I could speculate on that. I don't know the exact process that one would follow. I do know both the crown and the companies, and we have responsibilities to consult and engage and listen to aboriginal peoples before anything is done.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

I always think the devil's in the details. In the end, who has the absolute say? You're saying that it's crown land and it would be the crown that has the final say over any dispute.

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I did not say that, because a better answer would be I don't know if it is a legal question.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

But you're the head of the NEB. How could you not know that?

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

I know we have the final say whether we will recommend that a certificate be issued or not.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

I understand.

9:50 a.m.

Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

Gaétan Caron

If the certificate is approved by the Governor in Council, that's the law of the land.