Coastal GasLink pipeline project granted environmental assessment approval

The ministers issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate to the $4.7-billion project with 32 legally enforceable conditions.

Photo of BC LNG Engagement Dialogue in June by Province of British Columbia via
Photo of BC LNG Engagement Dialogue in June by Province of British Columbia via Flickr

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman and Environment Minister Mary Polak issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate to Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project.

The ministers issued the certificate to the $4.7-billion project – located in northern BC, starting near Dawson Creek and ending in Kitimat – with legally enforceable conditions, according to a press release. This will enable them to “ensure the project will be constructed, operated and decommissioned in a way that ensures that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur, with the exception of adverse effects on caribou and from greenhouse gas emissions.”

Following consultation and input from Aboriginal groups, government agencies, communities and the public, the ministers drew up 32 legally binding conditions that Coastal GasLink must meet.

Some of Key conditions for the project require Coastal GasLink to:

  • develop a greenhouse gas management plan that includes adherence to the Ministry of Natural Gas Development’s guidance on Best Available Techniques Economically Achievable, regulatory requirements to report on greenhouse gas emissions and site-specific mitigations;

  • mitigate effects on caribou by avoiding sensitive caribou habitat wherever possible, avoiding increased impacts from predators and providing up to $1.5 million to fund caribou and predator monitoring work;

  • prevent mortality risks to grizzly bears from displacement and disturbance and contribute up to $0.5 million to support the conservation and management of regional grizzly bear populations;

  • identify areas of old growth forest for new protection to replace currently-protected old growth forest affected by the project at final route selection;

  • ensure that marketable timber is salvaged for commercial use;

  • continue to consult with Aboriginal groups on the project, including opportunities to participate in monitoring programs during project construction; and

  • develop and implement a social and economic effects management plan to ensure strong engagement with local governments to minimize effects on community infrastructure and services.

Coastal GasLink also proposed a number of significant route changes during the environmental assessment after the feedback process. Some of the reasoning for the alternate routes involves reducing corridor length within caribou ranges and a number of major river crossings, avoiding parks and protected areas and steering away from critical habitat for the white sturgeon.

The natural gas transmission pipeline is expected to operate for at least 30 years, and it will require various federal, provincial and local government permits.

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