Plateau Pipe Line Ltd. has been granted an environmental assessment certificate for the Northeast British Columbia Expansion Project.
The project is an approximately 147-kilometre long pipeline that pipeline that would run from northwest of Wonowon to an existing terminal near Taylor. It will transport natural gas liquids, including condensate, propane, and butane, or other combinations of natural gas liquids, with a transmission capacity of approximately 75,000 barrels per day.
There are 26 conditions that are attached to the environmental assessment certificate. Key conditions require Plateau Pipe Line Ltd. to:
- protect moose during construction by restricting activities near suitable habitat during the moose calving season;
- undertake wetland surveys prior to starting construction to inform the development of a wetland management plan, and compensate for any permanent loss of wetlands or wetland function;
- develop additional mitigation measures to protect fish and wildlife if construction activities are to take place outside of least-risk timing windows;
- undertake surveys prior to starting construction and develop site-specific mitigation measures to help protect endangered plants and ecological communities;
- develop site-specific mitigation measures to help protect old growth forest;
- develop a plan for protecting heritage resources, including engaging with Aboriginal groups and training Aboriginal monitors to identify heritage values; and
- hire an environmental monitor for the construction phase, with the authority to stop work if necessary to prevent or reduce adverse effects from the project.
Plateau Pipe Line Ltd. also included a number of features into the design of the project, including:
- locating approximately 90 per cent of the pipeline route parallel to previously disturbed areas;
- using existing accommodation to house workers;
- constructing the project over a short time period, with clean-up and reclamation concluded within one year;
- constructing during times with the least amount of risk for affecting fish and wildlife whenever possible; and
- avoiding many designated areas and known sensitive areas, including old-growth management areas, parks and protected areas, and designated ungulate winter ranges.
A record of the factors considered by environment minister Mary Polak and natural gas development minister Rich Coleman is available at http://tinyurl.com/zenjgl4.