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NGTL System Jurisdiction
TransCanada’s wholly owned subsidiary, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), is the owner of a gas transmission system known as the NGTL System. TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TransCanada) applied to the National Energy Board (NEB) in June of 2008 to change its NGTL System from provincial jurisdiction to federal jurisdiction. TransCanada made this application to recognize the fact that, by law, the TransCanada NGTL System is properly within Canadian federal jurisdiction and subject to regulation by the NEB. On February 26, 2009 the NEB ruled on TransCanada’s application.
On April 15, 2009, the NEB issued Certificate GC-113 to TransCanada placing the NGTL System under the jurisdiction of the NEB. This certificate will come into effect on April 29, 2009, at which time the NGTL System will be formally regulated by the NEB. This concludes a comprehensive regulatory process undertaken by the NEB in respect of TransCanada’s application.
The NGTL System is a 23,500 km pipeline that gathers natural gas for use both in Alberta and to deliver it to provincial border points for export to North American markets. It is one of the largest systems in North America and gathers 66 per cent of the natural gas produced in Western Canada.
TransCanada is proud of the relationships we have built with our neighbours for more than 60 years and we are committed to consulting with stakeholders about our activities.
Letter to Landowners
Letters to Municipalities
Existing agreements between NGTL and landowners will not be altered as a result of a change in jurisdiction. NGTL is committed to, bound by, and will honour existing landowner agreements.
If landowners receive annual payments under an existing agreement with NGTL, they will continue to receive those payments. TransCanada is bound by the terms of its agreements, and contractually bound to the payment terms as defined. A change in jurisdiction will not alter this.
Existing NGTL right-of-way agreements state that landowners have the right fully to use and enjoy the right-of-way, as long as it does not interfere with the operation or integrity of the pipeline. As a result, Landowners already have permission to cross the pipeline right-of-way for normal farming operations, without having to notify TransCanada. This will not change under NEB jurisdiction.
Landowners are also protected from liability for pipeline damages which result from normal farming operations. This will not change under NEB jurisdiction. For the past 30 years NGTL’s right-of-way agreements have protected landowners from liabilities, damages, costs, claims, suits or actions arising from normal farming operations.
In fact, for more than 50 years of NGTL’s and TransCanada’s operating history extending over 48,000 km, no landowner has been held liable for pipeline damages arising from normal farming operations.
NEB approval is required for a pipeline owner to abandon an NEB-regulated pipeline. Landowner concerns related to the abandonment of a pipeline or future land use are addressed through that process. TransCanada will fulfill all of its financial obligations related to abandonment.
For over 25 years NGTL’s right-of-way agreements have protected landowners from liabilities, damages, costs, claims, suits or actions arising from the abandonment of a pipeline. Further, this protection continues for so long as the pipeline remains on or under the right-of-way.
In NEB proceedings, landowners have the opportunity to recover their costs where a landowner’s interests are directly affected, such as a detailed route hearing (where concerns about the routing or methods and timing of construction are determined) or the NEB’s Appropriate Dispute Resolution process (where specific landowner concerns are resolved).
There is a difference between the NEB regulations and the Alberta regulations regarding the safety zone.
NEB regulations state that the pipeline operator must be notified of all activities or ground disturbances (excavating, digging, trenching, drilling) deeper than 30 cm (1 foot), and within 30 meters (98 feet) of the edge of the pipeline right-of-way (the safety zone).
AUC regulations state that the pipeline operator must be notified of any cultivation deeper than 45 cm (18 inches), or any ground disturbance (excavating, digging, trenching, drilling) deeper than 30 cm, and within 30 meters of the actual pipe.
TransCanada does not require permission from landowners for normal farming operations that are no greater than a depth of 30 cm. It is TransCanada’s practice to allow such activities where they won’t interfere with pipeline integrity or public safety. However, if a landowner plans to cultivate deeper than 30 cm (deep tillage) they will need to contact TransCanada to ensure safety, and compliance with the NEB regulations.
Because of the difference in how the safety zone is measured, the NEB safety zone will be about 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet) wider. This safety zone exists to prevent accidental damage to the pipeline and to protect landowners, the public and the environment. Existing structures that may now fall within the NEB’s wider safety zone will not be impacted any differently, given that the structure is already in place and not currently affecting the safety of the pipe. However, if a landowner is planning to drill fence post holes or build a dugout, they should always remember to ‘call before you dig’ (1.800.242.3447). The company will then come out and mark the line. If the planned work does not impact the line, then the work can proceed.
If you or members of your community still have concerns or questions, please contact us. We have several different ways that stakeholders can get in touch with us, including:
By Phone: Toll-free at 1.866.963.6440
By Email: AB_system@transcanada.com