Ongoing monitoring following one of the largest environmental assessments (EAs) ever conducted in Canada for a pipeline
RWDI has been a trusted advisor to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) for air quality, noise, and greenhouse gases (GHG) since 2012, when the project sought to expand the existing crude oil pipeline and storage system in Western Canada. Before that could begin, federal and provincial regulatory approval was required, necessitating a public hearing process managed by the National Energy Board (NEB).
The project’s scale, strong public scrutiny, and adherence to a new, very stringent EA process made this one of the largest and most demanding Canadian EA processes carried out for a pipeline.
The challenges involved:
- Multiple regulatory bodies in Alberta, British Columbia, and at the federal level,
- Many stakeholders, including many Indigenous and municipal government participants, and
- Many information requests (IRs) both from the National Energy Board (NEB) and interveners.
Due to the number of interveners, it was necessary to perform more sophisticated air quality and noise assessments and distribute more detailed technical information than a pipeline project would typically require.
Our contributions throughout this 6-year process included:
- Serving as the technical lead for noise, air quality, terrestrial spill hazard/risk, and GHG emissions, conducting assessments in each to satisfy NEB and provincial regulator requirements.
- Leveraging in-house experts to support our client with consistency, efficiency, and contextual awareness.
- Providing experts with strong scientific backgrounds to support the stakeholder engagement process by attending workshops and meetings.
- Attending pre-consultations with regulators and affected communities to scope the EA and establish key concerns and research questions.
- Performing air and noise predictive modeling to inform engineering design for new product storage terminals and product loading at a marine terminal.
- Supplementing studies where needed, such as by providing measurements and modeling results.
- Helping the TMEP team respond to over 1300 Information Requests (IRs) that fell in our subject areas.
- Developing Environmental Management and Protection Plans along the entire span of pipeline.
We submitted four technical reports to support the EA report and supplementary reports, many of which were used to inform engineering design and help prepare the Final Argument and Reply Evidence filed with the NEB.
The NEB recommended the TMEP’s approval, subject to conditions, and it was subsequently greenlit by the federal government. The government noted its decision was based on a rigorous debate on science and evidence rather than local, regional, or national political arguments. We were engaged to support the fulfilment of several of the NEB’s conditions.
RWDI’s ongoing involvement with TMEP includes:
- Noise monitoring, modeling, noise mitigation consulting and complaint response for construction at the marine terminal, two tank terminals, and the pipeline, including over 50 trenchless crossing sites,
- Developing air quality monitoring plans, and
- Designing, constructing, installing, and commissioning four permanent air quality monitoring stations in Alberta and British Columbia (measuring eight air quality parameters and five meteorological parameters), then performing their ongoing operation and maintenance.