Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman issued FortisBC its conditional Environmental Assessment Certificate Tuesday afternoon.
The certificate paves the way for the proposed Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project.
The pipeline expansion is required because of the natural gas that will be needed for the Woodfibre LNG export facility slated for Howe Sound. The pipeline project would involve placing 47 kilometres of new pipe from north Coquitlam to the Woodfibre site southwest of Squamish, as well as a new compressor station in Squamish.
“It is a step forward, but there is still a lot that has to happen,” said Trevor Boudreau of FortisBC on Tuesday shortly after the decision was released.
He said the company would be reviewing the decision and then implementing conditions into the project design.
Conditions include the company developing an access management plan to reduce impacts on wildlife, mitigate impacts to wetlands and compensate for any
permanent loss of wetlands, as well as continuing to consult with First Nations and the public.
The proposal has been controversial from the start with recent concerns centred around the placing of the compressor station 1.8 kilometres from the Valleycliffe neighbourhood. Some area residents have raised concerns and vowed to fight the location of the compressor.
The Reasons for Ministers’ Decision acknowledges the concerns raised in Squamish. “We note the concerns of the public related to noise and air quality effects, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Mount Mulligan compressor station,” reads the decision, but the ministers felt the concerns were not well founded.
“We recognize [Environmental Assessment Office’s] conclusions that any noise levels generated by the station would not cause changes to the existing baseline sound levels and that increases in air emissions would be localized and well below the BC Ambient Air Quality Objectives.”
The parent company for Woodfibre LNG, Pacific Oil and Gas Limited, has yet to make its final investment decision.
The Squamish Chief contacted Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell, the Concerned Residents of Valleycliffe and My Sea to Sky immediately following the decision but had not heard back by the time the story went to press.
*Please note this story has been corrected to say Woodfibre LNG is a subsiduary of Pacific Oil and Gas Limited.