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Third fine issued for Coastal GasLink project

VICTORIA – The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has issued an administrative penalty to Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. (CGL) for non-compliance with requirements of its environmental assessment certificate.

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.

“Coastal GasLink respects the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office’s (EAO) role in upholding the high regulatory standards that we are committed to meeting,” according to a statement posted on the company’s website. “Those standards represent the exceptional measures in place to safely deliver B.C.’s natural gas to the world while protecting our environment. They are fundamental values for our Indigenous and local community partners, and values that are at our very core as well.

“This administrative penalty reflects erosion and sediment control concerns during EAO inspections from a year ago, in February 2022. We took immediate and decisive action to address these issues, which ultimately led to the Compliance Agreement we signed with the provincial Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in July 2022.

“Today’s determination by the EAO is a reminder of how far we’ve come in a year, and we are encouraged by their recent recognition of that progress. We continue to work closely with our regulators to look for ways where we can do better across our project, especially with erosion and sediment control.

“As part of the Compliance Agreement, we have successfully implemented the following measures:

  • Erosion and sediment control mitigation plans that are developed and supervised by Certified Professionals in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESCs) throughout the Project
  • Greater collaboration and transparency with our Independent Erosion and Sediment Control Auditors
  • Increased EAO oversight through the Compliance Agreement
  • Built the largest and most robust team of Erosion and Sediment Control Qualified Professionals in the province through additional training and hiring
  • Expanded erosion and sediment control training across our prime contractors and workforce.

“To date, the project has been inspected more than 500 times by regulators, with a satisfactory inspection rate of 90 per cent as reported by the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, compared to the industry standard of 82%.

“With construction on Coastal GasLink now over 81% complete, we are on track for completion at the end of this year. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving the highest standards of environmental protection during construction, and the 6,000 women and men working on the project strive to meet it every day.”

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. For additional information on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, search “Coastal GasLink” here:

When a project goes through the environmental assessment process and receives an environmental assessment certificate, the certificate contains legally binding requirements that must be followed for the life of the project. The requirements help mitigate potential negative environmental, social, cultural, health or economic effects of a project. Ongoing compliance oversight – including inspections and, where required, enforcement actions – are designed to ensure that projects are built, operated and decommissioned or reclaimed in compliance with these requirements.

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