Report says any pipeline in the region will fail

Landslides will eventually cut any pipeline routed through west central B.C., says a report submitted last week to the Bulkley Valley Research Centre.

~ By Andrew Hudson

Landslides will eventually cut any pipeline routed through west central B.C., says a report submitted last week to the Bulkley Valley Research Centre.

The report looked at how landslides and erosion form along a proposed pipeline route that runs from Burns Lake to Kitimat.

“It is a highly unstable area, and the likelihood of a landslide happening is extremely high,” said James Schwab, who authored the report.

Schwab retired three years ago after working 30 years as a research geomorphologist in the BC Forest Service. His report draws primarily on his own published work and experience in northwest B.C.

While the report does not specify any one pipeline, it does looks at the same east-west corridor where Enbridge, a Canadian oil and gas company, proposes to build two parallel pipelines.

One would carry crude oil west from Fort Saskatchewan to tankers in Kitimat. The other pipeline would carry a thinner that energy companies use to extract oil from sand in Alberta.

If approved, the two pipelines would cross three distinct geographic areas west of Burns Lake: the Nechako Plateau, the Hazelton Mountains and the Kitimat Ranges.

The Nechako Plateau south of Houston has sites of spreading bedrock that show active landslide movement, said Schwab.

And along the Morice River, he said, glaciers have deposited lake sediments that caused large landslides as recently as the 1950s and 1960s.

West of there, the proposed pipeline corridor moves into the Hazelton Mountains.

“They are a real problem,” Schwab said.

With so much volcanic rock lying on top of harder granite and other materials, he said the Hazelton Mountains are covered in landslide sites.

And in the last 30 years, he added, rockslides in that area have cut a natural gas pipeline three times.

Finally, in the steep valleys of the Kitimat Ranges, Schwab said debris flows have caused many landslides, as have the glacial marine deposits in that area.

Schwab and his colleagues have already published reports that highlight similar issues in professional journals like Landslides and Natural Hazards.

But the former researcher said he intended this report to be read by a wider public, and to inform the debate over pipeline proposals in B.C.

“I knew there was a need to put something out there, in terms of the geomorphology of the route,” said Schwab.

“The information was just not there.”

Schwab said he also expects his report will be presented at the joint review panel.

The report is available at bvcentre.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

Seats in the waiting area of domestic departures lounge of Calgary International Airport are seen with caution tape on them on June 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
3-in-4 Canadians in favour of banning interprovincial travel: Poll

According to Research Co., 80 per cent of Canadians would like to see restrictions imposed

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

Most Read