AltaGas accepting comments on terminal

AltaGas held an information session last week to explain the Environmental Evaluation Document findings.

AltaGas held an information session last week to explain the Environmental Evaluation Document findings.

The 30-day public comment period is open for the AltaGas-proposed Ridley Island propane export terminal facility.

Starting on July 19, the company is accepting any feedback, concerns or support from the community on its site that is designed to handle 1.2 million tonnes of propane per year and transport the product to 20-30 outbound ships from the terminal.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the company’s representatives hosted open houses in Port Edward and Prince Rupert to explain some of the details behind its recent draft of the Environmental Evaluation Document (EED), which states that “After consideration of the potential residual effects, and taking into account the ecological context of the site, the engineering design, and mitigation measures, AltaGas and its assessment team are confident that the project can be constructed, operated, and decommissioned without significant adverse effects.”

“We took input on what people thought were concerns and got direction from the regulators (Transport Canada, Prince Rupert Port Authority and Ridley Terminals Inc.) on what we should include in the EED … We also know, when looking at our project, there’s obviously a lot of information and databases around, with all the development that’s been proposed in the area that we based our document on as well,” said Dan Woznow, vice-president, energy exports for AltaGas last Wednesday. The regulators will review the EED and come back with their findings later this year.

Four main areas of concern were identified by the company and highlighted to the open house visitors, with the remaining categories found throughout the EED (physical copies of which can be found at the Prince Rupert Public Library, the Port of Prince Rupert and the municipal offices of Port Edward and Prince Rupert). Marine resources, air quality, noise and light were the main components being addressed through the visual aids at the open house.

On the marine side, carrier transit speed will be reduced for safe navigation, and compliance with the RTI terminal rules will also inform marine practices.

“We’re doing some modifications to the jetty, but none of them will be below the high tide line, so we’re really looking to move the propane out with new loading arms,” said Tobin Seagel, AltaGas senior environmental lead.

“We’re not building anything into the water and so a lot of the normal issues that you’d have around the terrestrial environment with wildlife and sealife, we don’t really have,” added Woznow.

To reduce air quality impacts, AltaGas plans to limit vehicle and equipment idling during construction, mitigate energy consumption and GHG emissions, take part in the PRPA annual emissions inventory, periodically assess the performance of the propane transfer and storage system to minimize leaks, only use the pressure-releasing flaring technique for emergency use and use modern technology in site design.

“A lot of [GHGs] are mitigated by design. That’s the whole intention is to create these closed loops. We’re very efficient with what we use and we’re not flaring 24 hours a day, seven days a week like a facility we would have built many years ago,” said Seagel.

As for the noise and lighting, Seagel explained that AltaGas would add additional lighting to the trestle, but would not significantly contribute to the lighting already coming from the site’s coal terminal and would contribute to the ambient glow coming from the site at nighttime. The terminal also runs 24 hours a day, and the noise coming from the gas compressor building and storage tank pumps would be mitigated through silencers or an equivalent. After the mitigation measures, the facility is expected to produce a sound pressure level of 40 dBA at 1.5 km from the site, with Port Edward being the closest community 2-2.5 km away, from an original level of 74 dBA.

“We think this is a good location … Hopefully it will garner support from the public and First Nations and be able to move forward and demonstrate to Japan and the world that you can get things done in Canada,” said Woznow.

In May, AltaGas signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Astomos Energy Corp., a Japan-based company importing propane for an off-take of the product. The agreement sees Astomos buy at least 50 per cent of the product shipped per annum.

Members of the public can weigh in with their comments by submitting them via email to info.ridleypropane@altagas.ca. The company expects to make a final investment decision in late 2016.