Thank you for the question.
I mentioned earlier the National Energy Board's online filing manual. That's where it all starts. One example of what that filing manual requires is the companies' need to go out to talk to people along the proposed route, typically a corridor that could be up to a kilometre wide. They they need to engage the people who live on that corridor. This often happens years in advance, before the National Energy Board ever sees an application. They will talk to the neighbours. They will talk to aboriginal communities. They will do detailed biotechnical, geological, and other kinds of surveys over the route. The filing manual lays all this out.
In the example of engaging people who may be affected, it requires applicants to do the engagement, to hear what concerns are, and then to tell the panel that is assigned what they did in response to that feedback and how they've improved the design. That's before the application starts.
The remainder of the filing manual has greatly detailed guidance dealing with safety, environmental protection, emergency management and response, the rights and interests of landowners along a pipeline who may be affected, and how their programs will deal with those things through the full life cycle of the pipeline, from the pre-design to design and construction, which is a very busy time, and then for many decades, perhaps, afterwards. It may also include toll and tariff matters related to the financial operation of the pipeline company, etc.
This is all laid out in the filing manual. The filing manual requirements have developed over decades with the National Energy Board. They're the things that the board has learned are central to protecting people, the public, and the environment. They're the things the board needs to know for whether pipelines can be operated in a sustainable and safe way. We need to know that the companies have the capacity to look after the pipes and to respond effectively when there are incidents. We need to know that the pipe will be used and is useful because, after all, pipelines are to move energy from areas of supply to markets.
This very large document lays all that out. The 450 staff at the National Energy Board tend to focus on disciplinary aspects of that, and they all come together in an interdisciplinary way during the review of a project.