Environmental Assessment Office

2016 Exemption Regulation

Cabinet has approved a new regulation exempting certain projects from having to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate under the Environmental Assessment Act (the Act).

The Exemption Regulation is limited to addressing part of the implications of a recent British Columbia Supreme Court (BCSC) case (Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia). In that case, the BCSC found that Act does not provide government with the authority to dispense with an environmental assessment certificate decision under its equivalency agreement with the National Energy Board (NEB).

The decision had implications on projects that had been constructed and already reviewed and approved by the NEB. Government decided not to impose post construction certificate requirements on projects that were previously assessed and approved by the NEB because it would not be practical nor procedurally fair. The projects reviewed by the National Energy Board that meet the criteria under the new Regulation and will not require an environmental assessment certificate are:

  • Spectra South Peace Pipeline;
  • Nova Gas Transmission Groundbirch Pipeline;
  • Nova Gas Transmission Horn River Mainline Extension;
  • Spectra Dawson Gas Plant; and
  • Spectra Fort Nelson North Plant

EAO has begun a process for the projects which are also impacted by the court decision but have not been approved or constructed, like Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Following a process set out by EAO, including consultation with Aboriginal groups, Ministers will make environmental assessment decisions on these projects according to the Act.

For more information, please see BC Gov News