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CALGARY Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's energy regulator ruled on Thursday that Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP must be allowed access to a park in a Vancouver suburb in order to complete technical work for the planned C$5.4 billion($4.81 billion) expansion of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline.
In its first order on record to a Canadian municipality, the National Energy Board said the City of Burnaby must allow the company to carry out surveys and studies at Burnaby Mountain, a conservation site.
Burnaby sought to block the company's access to the site after city officials and crews hired by Kinder Morgan clashed last month over whether the company was allowed to cut down a handful of trees on the mountain to do survey work for the new route, work Kinder Morgan said the National Energy Board had approved.
Following a hearing earlier this month, the board agreed it could trump local by-laws and ordered the city to stand down.
"Surveys and studies about Trans Mountain's proposed pipeline route through Burnaby Mountain are required in order to make a recommendation to the federal government about whether or not this project should proceed," the board said in a release. "Preventing full access to Burnaby Mountain would be contrary to the purpose of the NEB Act."
The planned expansion of the line, which takes crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, to Vancouver, will nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.
Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Grant McCool