The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), a Crown Agency of the provincial government of British Columbia, Canada has issued an administrative penalty to Coastal GasLink Pipeline (CGL) for non-compliance with requirements of its environmental assessment certificate.
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The $213,600 fine was issued for continued deficiencies with erosion and sediment control measures identified by compliance and enforcement officers during inspections of pipeline construction in February 2022.
CGL’s 2014 environmental assessment certificate requires implementation of an environmental management plan, including measures to protect sensitive wetlands and waterways from sediment caused by erosion, which can negatively impact water quality and fish habitat.
Recurring issues with erosion and sediment control over the past year have resulted in ongoing compliance and enforcement action, though more recent inspections are showing improvements on the ground following implementation of a compliance agreement in July 2022.
The latest financial penalty was for non-compliance in Section 8 near Kitimat prior to the signing of the compliance agreement.
The EAO takes matters of compliance with the conditions of all environmental assessment certificates seriously.
More than 50 inspections have been carried out along the pipeline construction route since the project started in 2019, with 37 warnings, 17 orders and two prior financial penalties: $72,500 in February 2022; and $170,100 in May 2022.
The EAO and CGL entered into the July 2022 compliance agreement to address ongoing non-compliance with erosion and sediment-control requirements.
The agreement requires CGL to follow more proactive measures to control erosion and sedimentation over approximately 100 kilometres of the 670-kilometre pipeline where ground had yet to be broken. Existing requirements under the environmental assessment certificate for erosion and sediment control continue to apply to the entire pipeline route.
Compliance and enforcement officers have recommended additional financial penalties from other inspections in 2022, which are under consideration.
The Environmental Assessment Office continues to actively monitor construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project to ensure it is meeting all requirements, which are in place to mitigate potential impacts to the environment and wildlife.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline will connect natural gas facilities west of Dawson Creek to the LNG Canada liquid natural gas export facility near Kitimat, which is also under construction. ■
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