Proposed LNG pipelines put dozens of B.C. parks and protected areas at risk, report says

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      British Columbia is home to 20 proposed liquefied natural gas projects, and 17 of those are in the northern part of the province, according to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's B.C. chapter.

      CPAWS-BC released today (December 10) a report outlining the potential environmental impacts of the five main proposed LNG pipelines associated with these projects. These are Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, Pacific Trail Pipeline, Pacific Northern Gas Looping Project, and Coastal GasLink Pipeline in northern B.C.

      The Gas Gone Wild report notes that the "ecologically and culturally important" Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park and Burnie River Protected Area would see three pipeline crossings in total.

      "The proposed routes crossing these protected areas are places where no pipelines, roads, or other infrastructure already exist. This means that if these pipelines are built, these protected areas will be newly fragmented, reducing the total core area of each park not previously exposed to development," the report states.

      In addition, CPAWS-BC observes that 28 provincial parks and protected areas lie within 10 kilometres of the five proposed pipeline routes.

      "Pipelines near parks and protected areas may impact the ability of these places to maintain their values and achieve their management objectives. When the landscape outside of these protected areas becomes fragmented, wildlife mobility between protected areas can be negatively impacted, affecting migratory species and other species that travel for food and mating purposes," the report says.

      Regarding the Burnie River Protected Area, the report notes that its management plan "identifies the proposed Pacific Trail LNG pipeline, as well as the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, as threats that could affect park and protected area values".

      It also observes that the B.C. government's Provincial Protected Area Boundary Adjustment Policy, Process & Guidelines "lets project proponents apply to remove lands from protected areas to accommodate development projects that would otherwise be illegal if the lands remained protected".

      CPAWS-BC also looks at potential pipeline impacts on forests, caribou, and grizzly bears.

      "Unfortunately, as with previous resource booms that B.C. has experienced throughout its history, the province is currently experiencing a 'wild west' mentality over the development of its natural gas resources. Looking ahead, we need to carefully and thoroughly measure all decisions made around LNG projects and not rush into approving projects before we fully understand what will happen in the long term," the report concludes.

      Comments

      4 Comments

      Shill Spotter

      Dec 10, 2014 at 8:30pm

      Yet another advocacy group releasing a "report" that supports their position on a cause. This is as relevant as anything the Fraser Institute publishes about the benefits of "privatizing X."

      hmmm

      Dec 10, 2014 at 10:03pm

      What's with the rush to extract BC's natural gas?

      Globally, there's too much natural gas coming on stream, at prices that are far too low. Leaving it in the ground for the time being is better than having money in the bank. When global supplies tighten up again and prices are sky high again, BC will be able to negotiate far better deals.

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      Kevin

      Dec 11, 2014 at 2:55pm

      Pipelines will only fragment parks while under construction. Once in-service they will be buried and vegetated. The right of way will be kept clear of trees, but usually that is ~10m wide corridor.

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      Charles

      Dec 15, 2014 at 9:11am

      The BC Liberals do not respect the people or the environment of Northern BC. Let us as the people who live here have a voice in what we think is an acceptable level of LNG development. The current approach is being driven by a reckless Christy Clark and her desire to leave a legacy.

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