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First Nations, Landowners, Local Governments File Objections to Trans Mountain Pipeline Route

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Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could be held up by objections from dozens of First Nations, landowners, and local governments along the route, the Globe and Mail reports.

“The Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) has received about 100 applications, known as statements of opposition, since the federal government approved the pipeline expansion project for the second time in June,” the Globe writes [1]. “The applications could result in new hearings on specific portions of the route, although Trans Mountain maintains it has built that possibility into its construction schedule and doesn’t believe the process will pose a major challenge.”

The regulator formerly known as the National Energy Board had offered landowners the opportunity to file objections and request their choice of hearings or dispute resolution. Applicants include the City of Chilliwack, the Coldwater Indian Band, and several other groups and landowners concerned about local drinking water supplies. The City of Langley “says the route would prevent future development,” the Globe writes, while several companies in B.C. and Alberta are concerned the route will threaten their businesses.

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David Gray, who lives in what the Globe describes as a semi-rural area in Langley, east of Vancouver, is asking the CER to protect a wooded area on his property by either shifting the pipeline route or requiring Trans Mountain to tunnel under his land.

“Once it is destroyed, it doesn’t come back,” he said. “We’re old, there’s no way we’ll be able to grow that back in our lifetime.…They’re going to leave a scar that doesn’t heal.”

He added that Trans Mountain could address his concern without disrupting its construction schedule. “I’m not trying to save the world. I’m just trying to save our place,” he said.

Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell said the CER process wouldn’t represent a significant risk to the pipeline. “A major shift to the route is unlikely, because the pipeline corridor is already approved,” she told the Globe.