Final decision on Enbridge Line 3 due this fall

August 22, 2016 8:05 am
Kristen Weedmark

The federal government is due to make a final decision on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement this fall.

The National Energy Board recommended approval on April 26, and the federal government has until Nov. 25 to make a final decision on the project.

Enbridge is already stockpiling pipe in the area for the project.

The Line 3 Replacement would see the majority of Enbridge’s Line 3 decommissioned and replaced with new pipe.

Enbridge filed the Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) regulatory application with the National Energy Board (NEB) on November 6, 2014. Depending upon the timing of regulatory approvals, the replacement pipeline could be in service in early 2019.

On April 25, 2016, the NEB concluded that the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program is in the Canadian public interest and recommended project approval to the federal Governor in Council.

To provide sufficient time for these measures, the Governor in Council has granted an extension of four months to the government’s legislated decision-making time limit (to seven months in total), so that the government decision must be made by November 25, 2016. The federal government has committed to undertake deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples and facilitate further public engagement.

Enbridge Senior Communications Advisor Suzanne Wilton said the company is working on construction timelines while awaiting the federal decision.

“The anticipated in-service date for this project is 2019 and we continue to evaluate construction timelines and schedules pending a decision by Cabinet,” she told the World-Spectator.

“In the meantime, we continue to engage with stakeholder and Indigenous groups as we continue our work on the project.”

She said the project is essential to Enbridge. “The Line 3 Replacement Program is an essential safety and maintenance project,” she said. “Spanning from Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba and south from the U.S.-Canada border into North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the Line 3 Replacement Program will create thousands of jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, and contribute billions to the GDP of Canada and the United States via direct, indirect, and induced benefits.”

Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen said he hopes the federal government approves the project quickly since the National Energy Board has recommended approval.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “It shows that the company is being diligent in making sure that they keep up with the times and improving the line will be, from a safety point of view, a tremendous benefit. I think they’re doing their due diligence to make sure that that process is followed and that the upkeep on that line is moving forward.

“My understanding is they put forward a proposal and it’s met that standard and now it’s going forward with further hearings. As in any process, the company has to say why they’re doing what they’re doing. I believe the process will be followed appropriately and I think it is a good step for the improvements that they’ve proposed.

“I haven’t heard concerns from people at all. Last night the CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) was down in Estevan and they’re going around talking about what’s going on with the oil and gas industry and it’s good to see they’re talking about the benefits of the industry to the economy, and these are things that, in my riding, are very important.

“A lot of the replacement line is going through the riding so it’s important that we keep our standards there for the residents as well as moving our product to where we need to get it moved to.

“I haven’t had anyone come to me and outright say that they were against it at all,” said Kitchen. “I would say that, when I’ve been out and about, people are very understanding of what we need to do with not only the replacement of this line, but also Energy East and the benefits that that will create for the economy.

“Around the riding people are wanting to know when it’s going to happen. They are wondering how quickly can Energy East get moving and get moving forward on the process. They realize it’s a number of years down the road, but the sooner the better, and they realize the huge benefit that it will create for Canadians.

“Almost 50 per cent of the oil and gas that goes to the eastern provinces is coming from outside the country. Moving Canadian oil to that part of Canada is just going to be a benefit for Canada, not to mention, it opens it up to markets around the world.”