Environmental groups are raising a red flag as one LNG pipeline proposal shows plans to run the line through the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.
One of the routes proposed by TransCanada Pipeline, the company tasked with creating the pipeline to Pacific NorthWest LNG’s terminal on Lelu Island, would cut through eastern portion of the sanctuary. The Valhalla Wilderness Society said survey work in the area is already underway, bringing helicopters and survey crews into the Khutzemeyteen to discover the feasibility of running a four-foot diameter pipeline with a 200-foot right-of-way and necessary access road for service and construction through the sanctuary.
“The pipeline corridor will shatter the ecological integrity of the whole area, and is a threat to every grizzly bear for miles around … this is a shocking and unconscionable betrayal of the bears, the Park Act, and the Great Bear Rainforest decision of 2006,” said bear biologist Wayne McCrory, who noted the work seems to be happening without a park use permit but “with the endorsement of the Premier’s office”.
“How can they even allow survey crews in the protected area for a pipeline that would require a 200 foot wide right-of-way and a major industrial road, as well as a compressor station and a large industrial staging area? They would have to put the pipeline 1.7 kilometres under the Khutzeymateen Fjord and through marine foreshore habitat vital to grizzly bears and world-class bear viewing. The whole purpose of the new conservancies was to protect the grizzly bears and adjacent marine habitats. Instead the government is allowing huge gas corporations to take a hammer to the protected areas.”
The pipeline would also pass through the Kwinimass Conservancy to the north of the Khutzeymateen, and McCrory said that sets a dangerous precedent.
“No protected area is sacred or safe anymore from our government’s wide open policies on rampant LNG development and the race of gas companies to get to the B.C. Coast,” he said.
“Establishing a new utility corridor through these protected areas sets a bad precedent for all our parks, and opens the door for additional pipelines or transmission lines to be built along the new corridor. No pipelines should be allowed through these conservancies … allowing pipeline surveys in the conservancies means that the provincial government is no longer honouring the Park Act. Apparently the pipeline company does not even have permits yet, nor should they be granted any. This is crazy. They should just stay out of these protected areas.”
TransCanada Pipelines did not provide comment, but the company told The Globe and Mail no ground work has been done, though visual assessments by helicopter have. TransCanada said it has applied for permits to allow studies in the park and would not do work until those permits were approved.