Six Nations Precedent: Indigenous Jurisdiction and Pipelines in Canada

Posted by Larry Sault and Don Richardson

on Jan 29, 2017 3:20:28 PM


Six Nations of the Grand River just set a precedent for Indigenous jurisdiction and National Energy Board (NEB) regulated pipelines in Canada.  And it's a BIG ONE. The precedent will have implications for ALL Indigenous communities seeking to exercise jurisdiction through environmental and cultural heritage monitoring of currently operating oil and gas pipelines across Canada.  This will have major implications for National Energy Board pipeline projects like Energy East and for potential Aboriginal and industry partnerships for monitoring work where approvals are already in place for existing pipelines.

As we like to say, "SHIFT HAPPENS": our experience suggests that Indigenous environmental monitoring simply makes operating infrastructure projects better for all parties.  We follow pipeline regulations very closely for several Indigenous clients, and we've reported on previous precedents like the Enbridge decision on the Enbridge Gas GTA project.  In that project, our work with the Mississaugas of the New Credit set important precedents - those precedents resulted in Aboriginal environmental and cultural heritage monitors being present at one of the largest pipeline related archaeological discoveries in Ontario.


Here's the story

The NEB approved Enbridge’s Line 10 Westover Segment Replacement Project on January 26, 2017.  Line 10 was built in 1962 and is one of several Enbridge Great Lakes pipelines that crosses major Great Lakes rivers and waterways.  Line 10 crosses the Niagara River, while Enbridge Line 5 crosses the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Clair River near Sarnia. Enbridge Line 9 crosses the Thames River upstream from the Chippewas of the Thames and crosses the Grand River, and then crosses every major river on the north shore of Lake Ontario before crossing the Ottawa River. Enbridge Line 9 is subject to a major Supreme Court of Canada case brought by the Chippewas of the Thames focused on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples.

These pipeline river and waterway crossings are of great importance to Indigenous communities. The Hamilton-Niagara region is criss-crossed by more than a dozen pipelines, several of them more than a half-century old.  There are so many and, so many unknowns, that the City of Hamilton recently formed a task force to uncover answers and to assess pipeline issues that arise across the region

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Topics: Energy East, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes, Indigenous Environmental Monitoring

Energy East Pipeline to Nova Scotia: Will First Nations Have a Big Say?

Posted by Don Richardson

on Dec 9, 2016 9:25:34 AM


By Don Richardson, Managing Partner, Shared Value Solutions Ltd.


I was taken by surprise by the announcement that Nova Scotia's Strait of Canso Superport should be an ultimate destination for the Energy East pipeline.  That's the recommendation of a new Senate Committee report released on December 7th, 2016.  The report also highlights the Indigenous partnering, including benefit sharing and equity stakes, that the Senate Committee says are critical for any Canadian oil transportation strategy.  

At Shared Value Solutions we provide environmental and regulatory consulting support for several First Nation clients across New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.  This new report from the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has big implications for our clients, and will lead to important community decisions.  And it is part of a constantly changing and complex political story that is Energy East.  

Part of my job, which I couldn't do without my terrific colleagues, is to support Indigenous leaders and their communities, in getting the facts, conducting independent due diligence including land use and Indigenous knowledge studies, and making informed community decisions.

The Senate report, is largely supportive of Canadian oil and gas energy production policies and should be read with that understanding.  It is titled Pipelines for Oil: Protecting our economy, respecting our environment and makes 6 key points about a proposal to direct the Energy East oil pipeline to a new port in Nova Scotia.  Let's see what this means...

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Topics: Energy East, Pipelines

Changes Coming to Canada’s Pipeline Review Processes

Posted by Don Richardson

on Jan 24, 2016 1:06:50 PM

According to news reports from Bloomberg and the National Observer, Canada’s federal government is preparing the specifics of “transition plans” for current pipeline proposals under review by the National Energy Board.  This process is part of a wider process to strengthen environmental assessments.  Trudeau has said he is preparing to overhaul Canada’s environmental assessment process so Canada can get “social license for developing our resources, which will allow us to get our resources to market.”

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Topics: Energy East, Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes

Energy East: How the National Energy Board (NEB) process works, and how to work it

Posted by Heidi Klein

on Mar 9, 2015 5:34:00 PM


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Topics: Energy East

Six Hot Ideas for a New Ontario Energy Strategy

Posted by Don Richardson and Emily Ferguson

on Nov 10, 2014 9:21:00 PM


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Topics: Unconventional Oil and Gas, Energy East, Ontario Climate Action

Are You Watching? TransCanada Pipelines and Aboriginal Interests

Posted by Don Richardson

on Nov 3, 2014 8:17:00 AM

Is Your Community Engaged?

In September we published a popular post: "Is Your Community Ready?" TransCanada Pipelines & Aboriginal Interests".  On October 30th, 2014, TransCanada formally applied for federal government approval for this $12 billion project that will take crude oil from Alberta across six provinces to processing on the East Coast.  See the Backgrounder below.

In this post, we revisit some of the considerations about Aboriginal community wellbeing and this major project. If you are checking out out the proposal and asking questions, this post might help.

Is YOUR community ready to make sense of local impacts from the largest set of energy infrastructure projects in Canadian history? 



Communities Getting Prepared - Aboriginal Interests


Many First Nation and Métis communities are preparing to participate in the regulatory process and develop community-based understandings of the potential impacts.  


We believe that if the projects are approved, it will be because Aboriginal communities have participated in making sure the projects address their needs and interests.  


We are aware of several Aboriginal communities undertaking traditional knowledge studies and environmental and socio-economic impact reviews.  See below for a list of potential impacts during pipeline construction and operation.


In these major Canadian project approval processes, Traditional Knowledge Matters.  For interested communities, it is critically important to develop an understanding of existing local environmental and socio-economic conditions so that the potential project impacts, both positive and negative can be better understood to protection and enhance Aboriginal community wellbeing.


Here are eight things to watch for:


  1. archaeological and cultural heritage resources / aboriginal culture and local knowledge - how can traditional land use mapping help inform knowledge of key environmental and cultural heritage features around the pipelines?
  2. historic, current and future Aboriginal land uses – how will hunting, fishing, harvesting, recreation, education, spiritual, and sacred sites influence the project?
  3. economic activities – what current and future activities will be impacted? What economic opportunities do the pipeline projects present?
  4. how can Aboriginal environmental monitors / BEAHR Training be applied?
  5. how can traditional land use and occupancy mapping be applied?
  6. how can combining scientific and traditional knowledge improve project assessment and mitigation?
  7. how can you apply Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge and envrionmental change / climate change knowledge together?
  8. how will the projects dovetail with First Nation source water protection efforts?


  Interested in this topic? Then  see our related posts here: Energy East
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Shared Value Solutions Team Members Jeremy Shute M.A. RPP (Managing Partner, Professional Planner and Cartographer) training First Nations community land use planners, Magnetawan First Nation




Energy East and the Eastern Mainline Project: 

TransCanada’s proposed Energy East Pipeline Project is the largest proposed energy infrastructure project to happen in Canada since the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway system. 

At the same time as TransCanada moves forward with regulatory approval processes for Energy East, the company is proposing the Eastern Mainline Project – a brand new natural gas pipeline in Ontario.

TransCanada says that the Eastern Mainline Project “is needed to enable TransCanada to continue to meet its commercial obligations following the proposed transfer of certain Canadian Mainline facilities to Energy East Pipeline Ltd. (Energy East) and the subsequent conversion of those facilities to crude oil from natural gas service."

These two multi-billion dollar new pipeline projects, on top of a range of other new oil and gas pipeline projects in Ontario, present significant project review, consultation and accommodation challenges for First Nation and Métis communities. 

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Topics: Energy East

TransCanada Pipelines Energy East: Aboriginal Communities Speak

Posted by Don Richardson

on Sep 23, 2014 10:51:00 AM

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Topics: Energy East

Is Your Community Ready? TransCanada Pipelines & Aboriginal Interests

Posted by Don Richardson

on Sep 23, 2014 10:01:00 AM

Is Your Community Ready?

TransCanada’s proposed Energy East Pipeline Project is the largest proposed energy infrastructure project to happen in Canada since the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway system.  At the same time as TransCanada moves forward with regulatory approval processes for Energy East, the company is proposing the Eastern Mainline Project – a brand new natural gas pipeline in Ontario (see our post on TransCanada's Energy East Project: Navigating the Regulatory Process, our sister post, TransCanada's Energy East Project: Mapping Aboriginal Interests, an our post on Aboriginal Rights and Interests: Current Ontario Regulatory Direction for Pipeline Projects).

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Topics: Energy East

TransCanada’s Energy East Project Proposal: Navigating the Regulatory Process

Posted by Don Richardson

on Mar 12, 2014 6:50:00 PM

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Topics: Energy East

TransCanada’s Energy East Project: Mapping Aboriginal Interests in Ontario

Posted by Don Richardson

on Mar 12, 2014 6:27:00 PM

Note: This is one of a series of posts we're providing on the TransCanada Energy East Project and related oil & gas pipeline infastructure and Aboriginal interests.  Other posts include:

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Topics: Energy East