The National Energy Board is offering funding to individuals or groups planning to participate in public hearings into the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through Kamloops.
Trans Mountain Pipeline, owned by Kinder Morgan Canada, has yet to make a formal application for the $5.2-billion project, but expects to do so later this year.
The company wants to twin the 60-year-old pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. In January, it announced plans to expand the twinning in order to reach a carrying capacity of 890,000 barrels a day, almost triple the current capacity.
Participant funding is a preliminary step and was recently announced in tandem with the NEB’s list of issues — what it will and will not consider at hearings on the project.
The funding is intended to assist the public with travel costs or hiring an expert, said Sarah Kiley, an NEB spokeswoman in Calgary.
“We are starting to get a few phone calls to our participant co-ordinator,” Kiley said. “If you wish to apply as a participant in a hearing, you can apply for that funding.”
As another preliminary step, the board intends to hold public information sessions this fall to explain funding and the hearing process in communities along the route.
Anyone interested in applying for funds can contact the NEB’s Heather Dodds at 403-299-3130 or PFP.PAFP@neb.one.gc.ca.
In July, the NEB released a list of what it will and will not consider at hearings on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Consistent with its mandate, the regulatory agency will focus on the expansion alone and will not be delving into broader considerations such as the development of oilsands or the downstream use of oil carried by the pipeline.
The NEB will look at the need, economic feasibility and potential commercial impacts of the proposal, as well as potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. It will also consider potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of marine shipping since the project will result in increased tanker traffic along the B.C. coast.
Other items on the agenda: Appropriateness of the general route and land requirements; suitability of design; impact on Aboriginal interests, other landowners and land use; spill contingency plans; and safety and security during construction.