Energy board to release ruling on Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion Thursday

VANCOUVER – The National Energy Board will issue its report on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Thursday.

The report will reveal whether the board supports plans to triple the capacity of the pipeline, which carries diluted bitumen from oilsands near Edmonton across southern British Columbia to Burnaby for export.

If approved, the expansion would add or reactivate almost 1,200 kilometres of pipeline and would also expand the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

A positive recommendation from the board would remove a major hurdle facing the development, while a federal cabinet decision is expected by the end of this year.

A three-member federal panel was appointed Tuesday to conduct an environmental review of the expansion and report to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr by November.

Carr says the panel cannot override the energy board’s decision, but will add a further layer of consultation, particularly with indigenous communities, in case issues were overlooked by the board.