The TC Energy subsidiary building the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline has received more than 50 warnings about environmental violations, CBC reports, citing the British Columbia government.
“The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said it had issued a total of 51 warnings, 16 orders, and levied two fines—penalties of more than $240,000 ‘for repeated non-compliance’—since construction on the pipeline started in 2019,” the national broadcaster reports, citing an email from the province.
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The news story appeared this week just as Wet’suwet’en land defenders warned that Coastal GasLink is set to begin drilling beneath the Wedzin Kwa, the Wet’suwet’en name for the Bulkley and Morice Rivers. The waterway provides drinking water for nearby villages and has served as a key salmon spawning area for millennia.
CBC says CGL has received multiple warnings for failing to protect sensitive waterways and wetlands from harm to fish habitat and water quality, in violation of the company’s environmental assessment certificate. “The most recent inspection report by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), published in August, flagged ‘multiple infractions’—some of them repeat violations—on sensitive waterways, including the release of pollution into Fraser Lake, around 120 kilometres west of Prince George.”
In late April, an EAO inspection found “a large swath of brown water off the north shore of the lake, which is a critical habitat for endangered white sturgeon and trumpeter swans,” CBC writes. “A ministry spokesperson told CBC News in an email that sediment and turbidity can damage water quality and fish habitat, reduce sunlight in the water, and settle on wildlife and vegetation.”
The company denied responsibility for the Fraser Lake pollution, attributing it instead to public roads.
EAO’s latest inspection report lists “multiple” violations along the construction route, CBC says. CGL responded that most of the problems had been resolved, but “longer-term solutions” will be needed for others.
“Given the scale of the project, the terrain the project crosses, as well as temperature and ever changing weather conditions, the dynamics of erosion and sediment control remain a challenge,” the company told CBC in an email.
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