Coastal GasLink has been issued two administrative penalties totalling $346,000 by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) for non-compliance with requirements of its environmental assessment certificate.
The fines were issued on September 19, 2023.
The first penalty of $340,000 was for deficiencies with erosion and sediment control measures identified by EAO compliance and enforcement officers during four inspections along the pipeline route in April and May 2022.
A second penalty of $6,000 was issued for providing false and misleading information in October 2022 over maintenance inspection records.
It’s not the first time the EAO has fined Coastal GasLink, with previous and repeated non-compliance penalties issued in January 2023 for $213,600, May 2022 for $170,100, and February 2022 for $72,500 – all for failing to adequately control erosion and sediment.
“The EAO takes matters of compliance with the conditions of all environmental assessment certificates very seriously and has escalated enforcement action to address continued concerns with erosion and sediment control for the project,” wrote the EAO in a media release.
Urgent issues identified can also be addressed by warnings or stop-work orders, in addition to the financial penalties, they added.
Coastal GasLink has been prioritized by the EAO for compliance monitoring, with nearly 100 inspections since 2019, when the project started.
Those inspections resulted in 59 issued warnings, and 30 orders, including 13 stop-work orders. More than $800,000 in fines have been issued.
Coastal GasLink entered into a compliance agreement in July 2022 with the province, mandating more proactive measures for 100 kilometres pipeline construction that had yet to be completed.
When projects in BC receive an environmental assessment certificate, it contains legally binding requirements that must be followed.
“These requirements are intended to prevent negative environmental, social, cultural, health or economic impacts of a project or impacts to First Nations,” writes the EAO.
Coastal GasLink received their certificate in 2014, and requires them to create an environmental management plan, with measure to protect wetlands and waterways from erosion caused sediment that can impact water quality and fish habitat.
The 2014 environmental assessment certificate for the project requires CGL to develop and follow an environmental management plan, including measures to protect sensitive wetlands and waterways from sediment caused by erosion that can negatively impact water quality and fish habitat.
Additional fines are being considered by the EAO against Coastal GasLink for multiple stop-work orders issued in spring 2023 during a period of wet weather.
By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 22, 2023