Towerbirch Expansion Project
The Government of Canada has approved NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd’s (NGTL) application to expand its current natural gas pipeline system in northwestern Alberta and northeast British Columbia to connect new gas fields to the system to meet growing demand. The project consists of two pipeline sections of 55 kilometres and 32 kilometres, along with other facilities including meter stations and valve sites.
This project will contribute to Canada’s prosperity, creating up to 750 jobs during construction, adding $439 million dollars to Canada’s economy, and making sure we have the infrastructure to bring Canada’s resources to market.
This decision isn’t just about boosting the economy. The Government has a responsibility to ensure the right infrastructure gets built, in the right way - the environmentally responsible way.
In making its decision, the Government followed the five principles it established for project reviews in January 2016, which were designed to restore trust in the environmental assessment process.
- No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line.
- Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence.
- The Government considered the NEB Report and the 24 conditions it imposed.
- The NEB Report is based upon extensive technical, scientific and specialized expert evidence and testimony in the areas of economic, environmental and social analysis; traditional knowledge evidence and testimony; and the views of other hearing participants.
- The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered.
- Natural Resources Canada published an on-line questionnaire and web portal to solicit public input on the project. A total of 61 responses were submitted.
- Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated.
- Extended decision timeline by three months to ensure adequate consultations.
- Provided funding for participants.
- Meetings were held with 14 Indigenous groups.
- Indigenous peoples will be involved in monitoring the project during the construction and post-construction phases.
- Direct and upstream GHG emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.
- Information provided during the NEB hearings stated that direct GHG emissions would not be significant.
- Upstream GHG emissions resulting from the production, gathering and processing of the additional natural gas due to the project are estimated to be between 2.7 and 2.8 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
Key Concerns and Conditions
The Government has heard the concerns of Canadians, Indigenous peoples, industry and environmental groups throughout the review of the project.
The National Energy Board will require the company to meet 24 conditions that will help ensure the project is built and operated safely. These conditions will address the key concerns, including:
- Old Growth Forest Bird Habitat: NGTL will develop a plan to enhance the regeneration of vegetation on the construction right-of-way within or adjacent to old growth forest bird habitat. (Condition 4)
- Environmental Protection: NGTL will file an updated project specific Environmental Protection Plan at least 60 days prior to commencing construction. (Condition 7)
- Indigenous Monitoring: NGTL will fill a plan describing participation by Indigenous groups in monitoring during construction and post-construction of the project at least 60 days prior to commencing construction. (Condition 8, 20)
- Waterways: NGTL must seek authorizations under the Fisheries Act, and ensure watercourse crossings will not be impacted and the fish populations will not be threatened. (Conditions 14,15)
Review the full the list of 24 conditions that the National Energy Board will require of the company (See Appendix II).
Related Project Information
Online Questionnaire Report (PDF, 1.29 MB)
Read the summary of NRCan online consultations on this project.
Crown Consultations and Accommodation Report (PDF, 1.63 MB)
Read the summary of the Government’s consultations with Indigenous groups.
National Energy Board Report
Read the NEB’s decision and recommendations.
Environment and Climate Change Canada Assessment
View the assessment of possible greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) for this project.
Project Details: Visit the Major Project Management Office summary of this project.
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