Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre gas pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline.[1]

Location

The pipeline would run from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, to Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

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Project Details

  • Operator: FortisEnergy B.C.
  • Current capacity:
  • Proposed capacity: 228 Million cubic feet per day
  • Length: 28 miles / 47 km
  • Status: Proposed
  • Start Year: 2020[2]
  • Cost: $250,000,000.00[3]

Background

FortisBC is proposing an approximately 47-kilometer expansion of a portion of its existing pipeline system that serves the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. It involves adding new pipe beginning north of the Coquitlam Watershed and ending at the Woodfibre LNG site. The 24-inch diameter pipeline will have a firm capacity of 0.228 BCF/day. In addition to adding new pipe, an existing FortisBC compressor station in Coquitlam will be upgraded and a new compressor station will be constructed near Squamish.[4]

In August 2016 the pipeline received an environmental certificate from the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The certificate lists 30 conditions for FortisBC Energy Inc. to proceed, including the following:[5]

  • develop a Grizzly Bear Mitigation and Monitoring Plan to avoid or reduce impacts to grizzly bears from the project;
  • enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations prior to the start of construction to contribute $250,000 towards the monitoring and study of grizzly bear populations;
  • develop an Indian River Watershed Mitigation and Management Plan to minimize potential effects from the project on Tsleil-Waututh’s interests;
  • continue to consult and engage with Aboriginal groups to provide opportunities for involvement in monitoring activities, share information, identify and protect heritage resources, and discuss the effectiveness of measures to avoid or reduce effects from the project;
  • hire an environmental monitor prior to construction to help FortisBC Energy Inc. to identify and avoid or reduce adverse effects from the project on environmental, health, economic, social and heritage values;
  • use an underground trenchless construction method to avoid or reduce impacts of any construction on the Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area;
  • consult with Aboriginal groups and government agencies to develop a plan to manage and monitor effects from the project on community services and infrastructure; and
  • continue to communicate with the public about the project, including information sharing and providing opportunities to discuss mitigation measures, the development and implementation of plans, and compliance with environmental assessment certificate conditions.

In August 2019 FortisBC was continuing geotechnical investigations in relation to the project, suggesting that the project was still underway.[6]

On February 20, 2020 FortisBC proposed changes to the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre gas pipeline project "based on ongoing engineering design and [to] address anticipated impacts to the community." The changes will require amendments to the 2016 Environmental Assessment Certificate, and approval from the Squamish Nation. The changes include:[7]

  • A new location for the Squamish compressor station, previously proposed for Mount Mulligan, at the Woodfibre LNG site; Rerouting an eight-kilometre section of the pipeline extension in Stawamus Valley to minimize impacts and reflect input from Squamish Nation;
  • Increasing the size of the two new electric powered compressor units at the existing Eagle Mountain compressor station in Coquitlam, and reconfiguring the station to accommodate this expansion within the existing footprint;
  • Constructing an additional three-kilometre section of pipeline adjacent to the existing pipeline, near the Eagle Mountain compressor station, to increase reliability of natural gas supply to Woodfibre LNG.

Opposition

Acting on behalf of Concerned Citizens of Squamish, the law firm West Coast Environmental law submitted a letter to the District of Squamish in February 2017, alleging that FortisEnergy B.C. should have sought and obtained the District's approval for pipeline-related geotechnical work done in Squamish during the fall of 2016 and early in 2017.[8] According to an article in The Squamish Chief, the letter questions Fortis’ argument that section 121 of the British Columbia Utilities Commission applies to its project in Squamish. "Moreover, even if it does apply, we are of the view that section 121 does not remove the District’s jurisdiction over the pipeline in relation to matters of how and where the project should be built."[8]

A spokesman for the Concerned Citizens of Squamish, Michael McGillion, also expressed concern about Fortis B.C.’s chosen location for its pipeline compressor station planned for the base of Mount Mulligan, 1.8 km from a residential neighborhood. Fortis B.C. chose the Mount Mulligan location after the Squamish Nation chiefs and council and members of the wider community rejected its first location option in Squamish’s business park. “Fortis not only wants to use gas for compression instead of the original electrical drive . . . If the station is too dangerous for an industrial park, it is more dangerous in a forested setting susceptible to wildfires with limited access for firefighting and having three gas turbines running 24 hours a day."

Noise from the compressor station at the pipeline's terminus may also disturb residents in the area, according to engineers for the City of Coquitlam.[9] Engineers will monitor the project during and after construction to see if more noise mitigation — such as insulating above-ground pipes and installing equipment silencers — is necessary.[9]

Articles and resources

References

  1. Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre gas pipeline, British Columbia website, accessed September 2017
  2. Woodfibre LNG lets contract for proposed British Columbia project, Oil & Gas Journal, Feb. 17, 2017
  3. Project, Hedberg Associates, November 2018
  4. Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline BC Oil & Gas Commission, accessed Dec. 2017
  5. [ https://projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/api/document/58869120e036fb0105768ede/fetch Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate by FortisBC Energy Inc. for the Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project] EAO, Aug. 9, 2016
  6. Squamish Chief, FortisBC begins more work in Squamish area related to Woodfibre LNG project, North Shore News, August 16, 2019
  7. ForticBC (20 February 2020). "Eagle Mountain - Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project: Updates". Talkingenergy.ca. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Environmental lawyers question FortisBC’s stand in Squamish, The Squamish Chief, Feb. 23, 2017
  9. 9.0 9.1 Natural gas pipeline work could snarl Como Lake traffic in Coquitlam Tri-City News, Feb. 8, 2017

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