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Opposition to Groundbirch compressor station prompts NEB hearing

Landowners in the Groundbirch area are concerned that a compressor station related to the North Montney mainline project could affect the current and future use of their lands.
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A compressor station for TransCanada's Foothills pipeline. Opposition to a compressor station in Groundbirch by landowners near Dawson Creek has prompted further hearings on the North Montney Mainline project by the National Energy Board.

Landowners in the Groundbirch area are concerned that a compressor station related to the North Montney mainline project could affect the current and future use of their lands.

Their concerns have sparked further hearings on the project by Canada's national energy regulator.

William Brooke and Danielle Cobbaert, represented by Grande Prairie law firm Darryl Carter & Company, detailed their concerns in filings with the National Energy Board this summer.

Brooke and Cobbaert oppose the proposed construction timeline, and the method with which the pipelines would connect to the proposed compressor station, those filings show.

The NEB said Dec. 4 it will hold a "detailed route hearing" in 2016 in response to landowners concerns with the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) pipeline. NGTL is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Corp.

In written statements to the NEB dated July 24, TransCanada lawyers tried to have the landowners concerns dismissed, saying Brooke and Cobbaert had "participated extensively in the Board's hearing for the Project in 2014."

This included making written and oral submissions to the Board, submitting written information requests to NGTL, and cross-examining NGTL's witness panel during the oral hearings in Fort St. John. The company's lawyers argued that allowing the landowners to reargue their concerns in hopes of a different result  would amount to "an abuse of process" and should not be allowed by the NEB. The board disagreed.

"The board is not persuaded, based on the evidence before it, that your statement of opposition should be disregarded as being frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith," the NEB said in an October letter to the landowners.

The arguments the landowners made "arguably related to the determining of the best possible detailed route of the pipeline and most appropriate methods and timing of construction," the board added.

The NEB is accepting applications to participate in the hearing until Jan. 8. It will not reconsider matters that were addressed in the North Montney project hearing, such as the need for the project.   

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