Coastal GasLink (CGL) and the province have signed an agreement to improve protection of waterways along the company’s pipeline route in northwest B.C.
The agreement comes after several fines were imposed on CGL last year and in spring 2022 after inspection reports revealed violation of environmental standards due to erosion and sedimentation.
According to the compliance agreement between Environmental Assessment Office and the energy giant, CGL is required to follow more proactive measures to control erosion and sedimentation for all new construction along the pipeline route.
The 670-kilometre-long CGL pipeline by TC Energy is being built to deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to an LNG Canada facility under construction in Kitimat.
The agreement applies to approximately 100 kilometres of the pipeline where ground has yet to be broken. Existing requirements under the environmental assessment certificate for erosion and sediment control continue to apply to all activity along the pipeline route.
The measures outlined in the agreement are intended to protect sensitive wetlands and watercourses from sedimentation caused by erosion, which can negatively impact fish, fish habitat, wildlife and other important values, said the provincial environment ministry in a July 14 statement.
Under the agreement, CGL will be required to enhance staff training and provide stronger and more qualified leadership on site to oversee construction activities. They must also develop comprehensive, detailed erosion and sediment management plans for all new construction, prioritizing erosion prevention over sediment control.
The plans must be reviewed by an independent erosion and sediment-control expert and approved by the EAO before any new ground can be broken. On-site inspections by an independent expert, as well as ongoing maintenance to prevent erosion and control sediment, will also continue in all areas of the project.
Failure to comply with the agreement can result in escalating enforcement action, up to and including stop-work orders by the minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The EAO is still considering further financial penalties on previous issues, said the ministry. The ministry also noted more than 50 inspections have been carried out since construction on the project began in 2018.