TransCanada to host open houses in Peace for LNG pipeline
Natural gas pipeline construction in Stittsville, Ontario.
By Kyla Corpuz
FORT ST. JOHN – TransCanada launched their environmental assessment into the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project.
TransCanada started their round of open houses throughout northern B.C. on May 16.
Three of the seven sessions will be held around the Peace from Jun. 10 to 12 in Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope and Chetwynd. The proposed $6 million-LNG pipeline would start in Hudson’s Hope and meet with the proposed LNG facility on Lelu Island within the District of Port Edward, a separate project by Progress Energy.
Engaging with First Nations groups and local government has already begun in Hudson’s Hope. “Reaching out and holding meetings … has already started,” said TransCanada spokesperson Grady Semmens. “We began just after we announced the project earlier this year [we’ve been] going out and getting on the ground.”
The open houses would be an opportunity for TransCanada to introduce the project to the surrounding communities and gather any input from attendants.
“People can show up and see how we are going to select the route [and] the environmental process, so we are really there to answer any and all questions that people might have.”
Even though Hudson’s Hope would bear the most impact, Semmens said sharing information with Chetwynd and Fort St. John could open up opportunities for potential local employment and partnerships.
“It would make sense to hold an open house in Fort St. John, there would certainly be a lot of opportunities and business and local workers to be involved in the project,” said Semmens.
As far as dangers that come with transporting natural gas, he said, “Generally speaking, pipelines are by far the safest and most efficient way to move natural gas.”
However, he also noted its adverse effects, which are attributed to the potential of third parties digging into the ground and striking the pipeline.
“Natural gas is a volatile substance. If a pipeline is broken or compromised then gas generally leaks out of it and vents out,” he added if the pressure is high there could be potential for it to ignite.
Therefore, Semmens said TransCanada promotes safe digging practices to avoid these circumstances from happening.
In an earlier interview with then premier, Christy Clark, from the Liberal government, Clark stated that the transmissions lines would “pass [its environmental assessment] with flying colours” because, “If there was to be an event, it would escape into the air and float off into the ocean because it’s lighter than water.” She added the pipeline infrastructure has the “overwhelming” support of First Nations.
However, according to the Treaty 8 press release, natural gas developments, including pipelines, has a “very intense” ecological and environmental disturbance.
“Gas field infrastructure typically remains in place for many decades. As a result, First Nations people (and future generations) are unable to use the land for traditional purposes,” reads the release.
The proposed pipeline is approximately 750 km in length, according to a TransCanada press release. If approved, over the three-year construction period “thousands” of short-term jobs would be created.
If the project receives its environmental certificate in 2014, it won’t start construction until 2015 and be in operation until 2018.
The pipeline is expected to generate an estimated $22 million in annual property tax payments to five regional districts: Peace River, Fraser-Fort George, Bulkley-Nechako, Kitimat-Stikine and Skeena-Queen Charlotte and two municipalities the District of Hudson’s Hope and the District of Port Edward.
TransCanada has a second proposed LNG transmission pipeline, Coastal GasLink Project, which was announced in June 2012. If approved it would run from northeast B.C. to a proposed LNG site in Kitimat.
Fort St. John: Pomeroy Sport Centre, Jun. 10, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hudson’s Hope: Community Hall, Jun. 11, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Chetwynd: Recreation Centre, Jun. 12, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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