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Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC Trans Mountain Expansion Project, Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity OC-065 Detailed Route Hearing MH-031-2020 – Robin Scory, CER Letter Decision

Link to Decision Summarized

Construction Method

In this decision, the CER decided that the construction methods proposed by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”) were the most appropriate for this portion of the route.

As part of the application process for the construction and operation of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (“TMEP”), Trans Mountain had been directed to file its Plan, Profile, and Book of Reference (“PPBoR”) for the entire TMEP route. Trans Mountain served landowners along the length of the TMEP with a notice that the detailed route approval process was underway, and placed notices in local publications. The notices indicated that landowners and Indigenous peoples with a continued or new objection to the proposed detailed route, or to the methods or timing of construction, were required to file a Statement of Opposition (“SOO”)

Detailed Route Hearing MH-031-2020

Mr. Robin Scory was the registered owner of lands effected by the construction. In 2017, Mr. Scory did not file a SOO during the TMEP detailed route approval process. In 2020, Mr. Scory filed a SOO (C06346) and was granted a new detailed route hearing (MH-031-2020).

In this detailed route hearing, the CER considered whether Trans Mountain’s proposed methods of constructing the TMEP pipeline were the most appropriate. The CER noted that Trans Mountain was required to prove this on a balance of probabilities.

Following the notification of Indigenous communities, whose rights and interests could be affected by the TMEP detailed route approval process, the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (“STSA”) submitted and SOO, opposing the proposed detailed route and the methods and timing of construction throughout Segments 6 and 7 lands. Following an application, Semá:th First Nation (“Semá:th”) was granted approval to substitute STSA.

The geographic scope of Detailed Route Hearing MH-031-2020 was limited to Tract 2648 (the” Lands”).

Are Trans Mountain’s Proposed Methods of Construction the most Appropriate?

Trans Mountain proposed to construct the TMEP pipeline on the Lands with a conventional open-trench construction methodology. The proposed method of construction for Turkey Brook Creek (identified in Trans Mountain’s Watercourse Crossing Inventory as BC-748) was an isolation with fish salvage and water quality monitoring (if flowing), or open-cut (if dry or frozen to bottom). Trans Mountain proposed a bore as the method of construction for 264th Street on the western boundary of the Lands.

Mr. Scory’s Submissions

Mr. Scory was concerned that Trans Mountain’s proposed construction method would have impacts on stream water quality and quantity and the riparian area. He submitted that installation of the pipeline would affect the quality and quantity of water in Turkey Brook Creek on the Lands and further downstream, which would affect domestic and agricultural water supplies within the riparian area of Nathan Creek.

In response to this concern and suggestions made by Mr. Scory, Trans Mountain stated that it had completed watercourse crossing assessments for Turkey Brook Creek and would follow the mitigation and reclamation measures contained in its various plans and comply with all permit requirements for watercourses.

The CER was satisfied that Trans Mountain’s Watercourse Crossing Inventory, Water Quality Monitoring Plan and its submissions addressed Mr. Scory’s concerns sufficiently.

Mr. Scory was further concerned with pipeline buoyancy and the ability to cross the pipeline with heavy equipment. Mr. Scory submitted that Trans Mountain’s proposed installation depth for the pipeline was not enough to prevent it from becoming buoyant in wet areas, which created a spill hazard due to the flexing of the pipe and limited Mr. Scory’s ability to cross it with farm and other equipment. Mr. Scory also planned to develop the Lands in the future, and the proposed pipe thickness did not allow for crossings with heavy equipment in some locations. He requested that the depth of the pipeline be increased from 1.2 metres to 3 metres to address this issue.

The CER was satisfied that Trans Mountain’s proposed depth of cover, the thickness of the pipe and coating met industry standards and requirements. In response to the concern regarding crossing the pipeline with heavy equipment, and the suggestion to increase the depth of cover and the pipe wall, the CER found that the suggested measures were not necessary to allow crossing the pipeline with heavy equipment on the Lands. The CER noted that increasing the pipe’s depth of cover and wall thickness would not remove Mr. Scory’s requirement to comply with the applicable provisions of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Pipeline Damage Prevention RegulationsAuthorizations for pipeline crossings. The CER noted that the same regulations required Trans Mountain to work with landowners to accommodate safe pipeline crossings.

As he did not provide any details regarding the scope or timing of his development plans, the CER was not satisfied that a potential future development justified deeper cover for the pipeline or the use of thicker-walled pipe or thicker pipe coating. The CER found the proposed depth of cover and pipe wall thickness and coating were appropriate for the Lands.

Mr. Scory further submitted that Trans Mountain’s plan to install the pipeline under the creek required significant bends in the pipeline because the creek ran through a 30-foot-deep ravine. This increased the risk of a spill and contamination of the creek and downstream waterbodies, including Nathan Creek and the Fraser River, because more pressure would be needed to pump the product through the pipe and buoyancy issues increased stress on the pipe. Mr. Scory suggested that Trans Mountain instead build a permanent bridge across the ravine and suspend the pipeline from the underside of the bridge.

The CER was satisfied by Trans Mountain’s plan to grade out the banks on either side of the ravine to remove any significant bends in the pipeline where it crossed under Turkey Brook Creek. The CER found this to adequately address Mr. Scory’s concern.

Mr. Scory finally submitted that the proposed 24-metre temporary workspace (“TWS”) was too narrow to store all of the materials removed from the right-of-way (“RoW”), as well as the materials required for construction, and to safely accommodate construction vehicle travel and that the proposed security fencing for construction was insufficient.

In response to the security fence related concerns, Trans Mountain submitted that it had developed a Security Plan to support the execution of the TMEP, and that all construction would be in accordance with the requirements of the Security Plan.

The CER accepted that Trans Mountain properly assessed the space needed for the TWS based on its extensive experience with pipeline construction and RoW management. The CER determined that the proposed TWS was appropriate.

The CER was satisfied that Trans Mountain’s plans and implemented measures to monitor site access and security adequately addressed the corresponding concerns. The CER noted its expectation of Trans Mountain to continuously monitor and adapt its security measures throughout construction, as indicated in its Security Plan and its Access Management Plan.


The CER concluded that Trans Mountain’s proposed constructions were the most appropriate. The CER further determined that it was not necessary to make any findings as to whether: (i) the proposed route was the best possible route; and (ii) the proposed timing of construction was the most appropriate.

The CER noted that a future Order to approve the PPBoR for the Lands would include conditions requiring Trans Mountain to list and fulfill and commitments it had made during this hearing, to file updated environmental and construction alignment sheets, and to maintain a copy of the Order and condition filings at its construction office(s).

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