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Hearings on TransCanada's Energy East, Eastern Mainline to begin anew

The new hearing panel of Canada's National Energy Board moved to void all decisions made by its predecessor on the applications for the Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipeline projects, prompting a restart of the long-suspended hearings.

Voided decisions made by the previous hearing panel include the determination that both project applications are complete, that the review for both applications would be done through a single hearing and the list of issues and factors to be included in the environmental assessments, according to a Jan. 27 news release. All voided decisions will be removed from the official hearing record and all hearing steps and deadlines are no longer applicable, the NEB said.

The new panel has yet to release information regarding how hearings on the projects would move forward, but the project applications need not be refiled. The 21-month time limit for the project applications will begin again once the new panel decides that the applications are complete.

The original hearing panel stepped aside in the face of conflict-of-interest allegations, which then put on hold the cross-country hearings on the projects. Energy East, a 4,500-kilometer pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil, and Eastern Mainline, a 279-kilometer gas pipeline in Ontario, were both proposed by TransCanada Corp.