Coastal GasLink fined for third time for environmental violation | UKTN news

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The company behind a controversial natural gas pipeline project in northern BC has been fined for a third time for non-compliance with environmental regulations, according to the provincial government.

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has fined Coastal GasLink (CGL) $213,600 for what the Department of Environment and Climate Change Strategy described as “persistent deficiencies with erosion and sediment control measures” identified during inspections of pipeline construction in February 2022.

The ministry says similar issues led to enforcement action over the past year, but noted improvements since Coastal GasLink and the EAO signed a compliance agreement last summer.

The latest fine covers part of the pipeline route near Kitimat in northwestern BC before the agreement was signed.

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In a statement posted online, Coastal GasLink says the fine reflects concerns from a year ago and “immediate and decisive action” was needed to address them.

“Today’s determination by the EAO is a reminder of how far we have come in a year, and we are encouraged by their recent recognition of that progress,” the statement read. It went on to say that the company continues to work with regulators to look for ways to improve, especially with regard to erosion and sediment control.

Additional sanctions recommended by enforcers following other inspections last year are being considered, the ministry said.

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Since the start of the project in 2019, more than 50 inspections have been carried out along the pipeline’s construction route, the ministry says. The EIS issued 37 warnings and 17 orders.

A fine of $72,500 was imposed in February 2022 and another fine of $170,100 three months later.

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau has been critical of the BC NDP government and says it is time to issue a halt to work on the project.

“These are not isolated incidents,” Furstenau said in a statement. “CGL has shown a reckless, hateful and dangerous attitude towards laws and regulations. They simply absorb the cost of relatively small fines and continue to destroy ecosystems.”

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Furstenau says the BC NDP government has the tools to keep the company compliant, but chooses not to use them.

“Until Coastal GasLink can demonstrate in good faith that it can construct this pipeline in a manner that is safe for the public and the environment, it should not proceed.”

Coastal GasLink’s pipeline will bring gas fracked in northeastern BC to an LNG terminal in Kitimat.

The project is opposed by some hereditary Wet’suwet’en leaders.

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