Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman have issued an environmental assessment certificate to FortisBC Energy Inc. for the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline 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/zgspbf2
There are 30 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 FortisBC Energy Inc. 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 FortisBC Energy Inc. to:
- develop a Grizzly Bear Mitigation and Monitoring Plan to avoid or reduce impacts to grizzly bears from the project;
- enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations prior to the start of construction to contribute $250,000 towards the monitoring and study of grizzly bear populations;
- develop an Indian River Watershed Mitigation and Management Plan to minimize potential effects from the project on Tsleil-Waututh’s interests;
- continue to consult and engage with Aboriginal groups to provide opportunities for involvement in monitoring activities, share information, identify and protect heritage resources, and discuss the effectiveness of measures to avoid or reduce effects from the project;
- hire an environmental monitor prior to construction to help FortisBC Energy Inc. to identify and avoid or reduce adverse effects from the project on environmental, health, economic, social and heritage values;
- use an underground trenchless construction method to avoid or reduce impacts of any construction on the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area;
- consult with Aboriginal groups and government agencies to develop a plan to manage and monitor effects from the project on community services and infrastructure; and
- continue to communicate with the public about the project, including information sharing and providing opportunities to discuss mitigation measures, the development and implementation of plans, and compliance with environmental assessment certificate conditions.
The environmental assessment included the evaluation of various alternative pipeline routes and compressor station locations, and FortisBC Energy Inc. proposed a number of design changes during the environmental assessment, based on feedback received during the process, including:
- modifying the proposed corridor and crossing method to reduce disturbances to the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area and to avoid areas of importance to Tsleil-Waututh Nation;
- locating a temporary worker camp west of the Squamish River to reduce potential impacts on the District of Squamish from worker accommodations that would otherwise have been located in Squamish; and
- changing the design for compression of the transported gas, by proposing a natural gas-fired compressor station at the base of Mt. Mulligan as a replacement to the Squamish compressor station previously proposed in the Application, in response to concerns raised by the public and Aboriginal groups.
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 47-kilometre long pipeline that will deliver sweet natural gas to the Woodfibre LNG facility located southwest of Squamish, British Columbia, which received an environmental assessment certificate on October 26, 2015. The pipeline will have a transmission capacity of approximately 6.45 million cubic metres (228 million standard cubic feet) 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.