Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman have issued an environmental assessment certificate to Plateau Pipe Line Ltd. for the Northeast British Columbia Expansion project.
The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office. A record of the factors that the ministers considered in making their decision can be found in the Reasons for Ministers’ Decision at: http://tinyurl.com/zenjgl4
There are 26 conditions that are attached to the environmental assessment certificate. Design requirements are specified in a certified project description. Each of the conditions and the certified project description are legally-binding requirements that Plateau Pipe Line Ltd. must meet to be in compliance with the environmental assessment certificate.
The certificate conditions were developed following consultation and input from Aboriginal groups, government agencies, local governments, communities and the public. Key conditions for the project 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. incorporated a number of features into the project design to avoid or reduce adverse effects, including:
- locating approximately 90% 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.
The project will require various federal, provincial and local government permits to proceed.
The Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that the certificate conditions are met throughout the life of the project.
The project is an approximately 147-kilometre long pipeline that will transport natural gas liquids, including condensate, propane, and butane, or other combinations of natural gas liquids. The proposed pipeline would run from northwest of Wonowon to an existing terminal near Taylor. The project will operate for a minimum of 25 years and have a transmission capacity of approximately 75,000 barrels per day (or 12,000 cubic metres per day).
British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office is a neutrally administered office that is required by law to undertake rigorous, thorough reviews of major projects in British Columbia. These reviews provide significant opportunities for Aboriginal groups, government agencies and the public to influence the outcome of environmental assessments by providing input on the potential for environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects from a proposed project.