Proposed B.C. pipeline route crosses grizzly bear sanctuary
The company proposing to build a liquefied natural gas pipeline through a grizzly bear sanctuary near Prince Rupert has already been warned twice about “non-permitted access” to the environmentally sensitive area, and BC Parks is investigating a third possible transgression.
A subcontractor of pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. received a verbal warning from BC Parks after the first incident in the Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy on June 16 and a written warning after the second on June 28, according to the provincial environment ministry. A third incident under investigation occurred in the past week.
All three incidents involved helicopters and work crews.
The warnings come as concerned environmentalists line up to criticize the notion of putting a pipeline through a government-designated grizzly sanctuary that protects an estimated 50 to 60 bears.
The Khutzeymateen Provincial Park was established in 1994, and two adjacent conservation areas — the Kwinimass Conservancy and the Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy — were added in 2006.
“I know TransCanada is still looking at other (pipeline route) options, but the facts are that they are all over this (area) like a dirty shirt,” said conservation ecologist Barrie Gilbert. “They’re really looking at putting a pipeline into some of the most pristine protected areas on the B.C. coast, and people should be pretty damned upset.
John Dunn, vice-president of TransCanada subsidiary Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, said the non-permitted access incidents were all “inadvertent and not deliberate.”
“We take these types of incidents very seriously and they are not acceptable to TransCanada,” he said. “We don’t want something like this to ever happen again. We had procedures in place to ensure this didn’t happen, but an incident did occur.”
Dunn stressed it is still very early in the process and no decision has been made on exactly where a pipeline will be built.
“The environmental assessment process will begin this fall and there will be a number of open houses for public input,” he said. “We are looking at a number of conceptual corridors.”
Biologist Wayne McCrory said any pipeline route would require excavation, a major industrial road, a compressor station and a large industrial staging area.
“This is crazy,” he said. “They should just stay out of these protected areas.”
McCrory warned the government would set a dangerous precedent if it permitted a pipeline to run through a protected wilderness region.
“Once you establish a new utility corridor through a major protected area and major wilderness area — which society and the native people and the government spent a huge amount of money and effort to protect — you are establishing a precedent for the government to just keep doing that,” he said.
Premier Christy Clark’s government has been an enthusiastic promoter of the LNG industry, claiming that extraction and transportation of the fuel could help eliminate the provincial debt over the next 15 years. There are currently about 10 new LNG developments proposed in B.C.
Posted on September 7, 2013, in Oil & Gas and tagged grizzly bear, grizzly bear sanctuary, Khutzeymateen Inlet Conservancy, liquid natural gas, LNG, natural gas pipeline BC, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, Prince Rupert LNG, TransCanada Corp.. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.