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Eagle-Woodfibre pipeline project receives environmental assessment approval

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LNG Industry,

The Government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, has announced that the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project has been granted environmental assessment approval. Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman issued the certificate to FortisBC Energy Inc. following a review led by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.

The project consists of an approximately 47 km long pipeline that will deliver sweet natural gas to the Woodfibre LNG facility, located southwest of Squamish, B.C. This facility was awarded its environmental assessment certificate on 26 October 2015. The pipeline will have a transmission capacity of approximately 6.45 million m3/d.

FortisBC Energy still has to comply with 30 conditions attached to the environmental assessment certificate. These conditions were developed following discussions and input from Aboriginal groups, government agencies, local governments, communities and the public. Some of the key conditions that FortisBC Energy must adhere to include the following:

  • Avoid or decrease impact on grizzly bears through a grizzly bear mitigation and monitoring plan.
  • Reach an agreement with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations before commencing construction to contribute a sum of CAN$250 000 to the monitoring and study of the population of grizzly bears.
  • Minimise the project’s potential impact on Tsleil-Waututh interests by developing an Indian River Watershed Mitigation and Management Plan.
  • Continue to consult with Aboriginal groups, providing them with opportunities to get involved in monitoring activities, share information, identify and protect heritage resources, and discuss the effectiveness of measures to avoid or reduce the project’s effects.
  • Prior to construction, employ an environmental monitor to help identify, reduce or avoid the project’s impact on environmental, health, economic, social and heritage values.
  • Reduce or avoid the impact of construction on the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area by utilising an underground trenchless construction method.
  • Consult with both government agencies and Aboriginal groups in order to formulate a plan to manage and monitor the project’s effects on community services and infrastructure.
  • Continue to engage with the public. This includes information sharing and providing opportunities and platforms to discuss mitigation measures, plan development and implementation, and compliance with environmental assessment certificate conditions.

The assessment included the evaluation of a number of different pipeline routes and compressor station locations. During the process, FortisBC Energy proposed several design changes based on feedback that it received. Some of these design changes included the following:

  • Modifying the proposed corridor and crossing method in order to decrease disturbances to the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area and to avoid areas that are important to Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
  • Reducing the possible impact of worker accommodation on the District of Squamish by instead locating a temporary worker camp west of the Squamish River.
  • In response to concerns from Aboriginal groups and the public, changing the design for compression of the transported gas by proposing a natural gas fired compressor station at the base of Mt. Mulligan instead of the Squamish compressor station that was previously proposed.

The project still requires a number of permits from local, provincial and federal governments to proceed. The Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies in order to ensure that the project meets the certificate conditions throughout its life.

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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