Proposed Revision to Ontario Energy Board (OEB) Leave to Construct Cost Threshold for Hydrocarbon Pipelines

ERO number
019-3041
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Posted by
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Transferred to
Ministry of Energy
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
January 29, 2021 - April 29, 2021 (90 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
January 29, 2021
to April 29, 2021

Decision summary

We decided to post draft amendments to Ontario Regulation 328/03 for further stakeholder consultation.

Decision details

Following consideration of comments received in response to our proposal, the government is proposing further consultation on potential draft amendments to O. Reg 328/03 under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998. As noted in the original proposal, the regulation sets the current cost threshold associated with the OEB’s Leave to Construct for hydrocarbon pipelines at $2 million. If approved, the cost threshold would be increased to $10 million.

Comments received

Through the registry

9

By email

3

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

Ministry of Energy (ENERGY) received 10 comments and undertook additional discussions with interested stakeholders. On the initial proposal posting, ENERGY staff undertook engagement and consultation with Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Ontario. Some feedback expressed concern the proposed changes on the duty to consult and impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Other feedback was supportive of increasing the financial threshold. Some stakeholders expressed an interest in reviewing the draft amendments to the regulation and asked for clarification that the proposed amendment will not impact the existing exemptions provided under Section 90(2) of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998. In this new posting we note that Section 90(2) of the OEB Act remains unchanged. Section 90(2) outlines a Leave to Construct proceeding is not required for reconstruction or relocation of a pipeline if the size of the line is not changing and additional land is not required. Finally, some feedback suggested that thresholds for pipeline diameter, pipeline length and pipeline operating pressure also be increased. ENERGY is proposing to keep those thresholds unchanged.

See draft regulations for comment under a separate posting [019-4029], along with further description of the impact of the proposed amendments.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Ministry of Energy
Address

77 Grenville Street, 7th floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-3041
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
Posted by
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Proposal posted

Comment period

January 29, 2021 - April 29, 2021 (90 days)

Proposal details

Section 90 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA) requires that hydrocarbon pipelines in Ontario receive Leave-to-Construct (LTC

  • the proposed hydrocarbon line is more than 20 kilometres in length;
  • the proposed hydrocarbon line is projected to cost more than the amount prescribed by the regulations;
  • any part of the proposed hydrocarbon line:
    • uses pipe that has a nominal pipe size of 12 inches or more, and
    • has an operating pressure of 2,000 kilopascals or more; or
  • criteria prescribed by the regulations are met. 2003, c. 3, s. 63 (1).

We are proposing changes to O. Reg. 328/03 under the OEBA. The regulation sets the current cost threshold associated with the OEB’s LTC for hydrocarbon pipelines at $2 million. If approved, the cost threshold would be increased to $10 million.

OEB LTC approval will still be required if the hydrocarbon pipeline project exceeds any of the other thresholds outlined in Section 90 of the OEBA

For projects that do not require an OEB LTC approval (e.g., small natural gas distribution expansion projects), they are planned and assessed according to the environmental screening principles directed in the OEB’s “E.B.O. 188 Natural Gas System Expansion Report” (E.B.O. 188).

The proposed changes would not alter existing requirements for proponents to seek authorizations from Ontario ministries, authorities and municipalities needed to support the construction of the pipeline. Such other permits and approvals (e.g., relating to technical, safety and environmental requirements) would continue to apply. However, if approved, the proposed regulatory changes may impact how the Crown consults Indigenous communities for projects that cost between $2 million and $10 million that would otherwise not trigger a Leave to Construct approval. As such, as part of this Environmental Registry posting, the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines intends to consult with Indigenous communities about this proposed regulatory change.

The proposed changes would also not apply to the construction of pipelines crossing Ontario’s borders, which are regulated by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).

Ontario Energy Board – LTC process:

The OEB LTC process is a regulatory review to determine whether hydrocarbon pipeline projects meeting the criteria of the OEBA are in the public interest. The review typically examines the system need for the project and alternatives, project costs and economics, environmental impacts, landowner matters and Indigenous consultation. An OEB LTC hearing is a quasi-judicial process where the applicant makes a case that its project should proceed. Intervenors apply to participate in the process and if approved for participation by the OEB, can test the evidence of the applicant (e.g., by asking questions which the applicant responds to, or filing their own evidence) and submitting final arguments on whether the project is in the public interest. OEB has reviewed an LTC hearings can be oral or written. Once the OEB has reviewed an LTC application and determined it is complete, the OEB’s current service standard for an oral hearing is 210 calendar days and 130 days for written hearings.

Following receipt of OEB LTC approval, pipeline companies seek authorizations from Ontario ministries, authorities and municipalities to support the construction of the pipeline.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from January 29, 2021
to April 29, 2021

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