NEB approves request to change timing for pre-construction bird surveys

When the National Energy Board approved the Keystone XL pipeline, we included 22 project specific conditions [Filing A24669]. Conditions are legal requirements that help make a project safer.

One of these conditions says that during restricted activity periods for migratory birds, TransCanada Keystone must retain a qualified avian biologist to conduct surveys before construction or clearing activities can begin. The purpose is to identify any migratory birds and actives nests in the area. The company must also consult with Environment and Climate Change Canada and provincial authorities to develop mitigation measures to protect the birds and ensure that no nests are destroyed or disturbed by construction activity.

Initially, we directed TransCanada Keystone to carry out these surveys and file the results with us at least 30 days before starting construction. In October, 2018, the company wrote to the Board [Filing A94312] saying that in order to align with current best practices, non-intrusive nest surveys should take place as close to construction activities as possible (e.g., within 7 days). This will help ensure that the company can apply the appropriate mitigation measures and even monitor the nests if required.

The Board examined this request and agreed that the nest surveys should be conducted as close to the beginning of construction or clearing activities as possible. The Board also said that TransCanada Keystone must share the results of the surveys with the NEB within 15 days, along with an explanation of how migratory birds and their nests will be protected. The company will also need to provide us with evidence that they have consulted with the appropriate provincial and federal authorities.

Our full response [Filing A98742] to TransCanada Keystone about this request is available on our website.

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