The Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel has confirmed that final, closing arguments for the controversial Enbridge pipeline project will take place in Terrace for approximately two weeks, beginning on Monday, June 17, 2013.
The Panel says the purpose of closing arugments is to provide Parties Northern Gateway, intervenors, and government participants the opportunity to:
- tell the Panel their views and opinions about the Project including whether Parties believe it is in the public interest;
- persuade the Panel to recommend approval or denial of the Project;
- make their case about the relevance and weight of any evidence on the Panel’s public registry;
- discuss the merits of conditions that the Panel might place on any Certificate that may be issued for the Project;
- suggest additional conditions should the Project be approved
As is common with National Energy Board and Joint Reivew procedures, final arguments argument should be in writing, followed by oral responses. Only one arugment document is permitted.
The written final arguments must be based on JRP evidence that is on the public record. No one can introduce new evidence in either the written argument or in their oral response.
The “aids to cross-examination” used during the questioning phase of the final
hearings cannot be used unless they were admitted onto the record by the Panel as evidence.
However a witness’ answer to questions given when an aid was used is evidence and can be
The absolute deadline for filing the written arugment is noon Pacific Time (1:00 pm Mountain
Time) on 31 May 2013.
Participants can take part either in the hearing room or remotely via a conferencing system.
A party of the proceeding cannot make an oral argument unless they have filed a written arugment.
The purpose of the oral argument is to let one party respond orally to the written argument filed by others. A party may also respond to the Oral Argument of other Parties who have presented Oral Argument before them and whose arguments they disagree with.
Participants are expected to have read in advance all the written arguments they may wish to challenge and are restricted from repeating arguments made by others but are allowed to indicate they agree with the earlier argument.
Top Down Bottom Up
There are very specific rules for how the closing arguments will proceed, which the JRP calls “Top Down Bottom Up”
In order to allow all Parties to respond to all of the Oral Arguments of other Parties, they will be given two opportunities to provide Oral Argument in what is referred to as a “Top Down –Bottom Up” process….
During either the Top Down or Bottom Up portion, parties may simply state that they adopt the position of specific parties who have gone before them.
In the Top Down portion, Northern Gateway will first provide its Oral Argument in response to the Written Argument of other Parties. This will be followed by the Oral Argument of intervenors and government participants in the order set out in the Order of Appearances (alphabetically, A-Z). During the Top Down, Parties will respond to the Written Argument of Parties they are opposed to as well as the Oral Argument of those who have argued before them.
Intervenors and government participants will have up to one (1) hour each to provide their Oral Argument. Since Northern Gateway has the burden of proving its case and will be responding to all other Parties, it will have up to two (2) hours for its Oral Argument.
After the Top Down Oral Argument, Parties will have the opportunity to very briefly reply to any new matters that were raised in the Oral Argument of other Parties who presented after them. This will proceed in a Bottom Up format where the Panel will start at the bottom of the Order of Appearances and proceed up from there (alphabetically, Z-A), ending with Northern Gateway.
During the Bottom Up Oral Argument, Parties can only reply to new matters that arose in Oral Argument after they presented their Oral Argument. For this reason, the Bottom Up Oral Argument should be very brief. Parties who do not have any reply comments specifically related to arguments they have not had the opportunity to address should not provide Bottom Up Oral Argument.