The decision, which is expected to come after the close of markets on Tuesday, could be the final step in a regulatory process that began in May 2010, when Enbridge submitted its application to the National Energy Board.
A Joint Review Panel that heard from communities along the proposed route ended six months ago with the NEB‛s approval of the project, but with 209 conditions.
That left the federal government with 180 days to decide on the fate of the project. The government can approve or deny the application, but cannot change the conditions put forward by the panel. However, it can request the National Energy Board (NEB) change the conditions.
The $7.9-billion project proposes to build two pipelines stretching 1,177 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alta., to Kitimat, B.C. One of the lines would carry around 525,000 barrels per day of petroleum west to Kitimat, allowing Canadian oil producers to reach the emerging markets of Asia.
The other line to Bruderheim would carry around 193,000 barrels per day of condensate — a toxic mix of liquid hydrocarbons that forms during the extraction of natural gas and is used as a thinning agent to dilute and help transport heavy oils such as bitumen. The majority of the pipeline would be buried underground,