British Columbia’s Environment and Natural Gas Development ministers have issued an environmental assessment certificate to NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. for the Towerbirch Expansion Project, a 54-mile interprovincial natural gas pipeline between British Columbia and Alberta.
The environmental assessment certificate’s 17 conditions are in addition to and designed to supplement the 24 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board and address key areas of provincial jurisdiction and interest, such as vegetation and Aboriginal traditional use.
Key additional provincial conditions for the project would require NOVA Gas to:
- Prepare a vegetation management plan in consultation with Aboriginal groups, private landowners, and government agencies that provides details of vegetation management for the project, incorporates traditional-use information and traditional knowledge, and provides for additional considerations in ecologically sensitive areas
- Participate in regional initiatives related to the monitoring, assessment, or management of cumulative effects at the request of government agencies
- Prepare a heritage values management plan, with input from Aboriginal groups and government agencies, to further minimize impacts to cultural, archeological, paleontological, and heritage values
The federal government must consider the recommendations of the National Energy Board and make a decision on this project by April 6, 2017. Should they approve the project, the Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with the National Energy Board and other government agencies to ensure the office is satisfied that certificate conditions are met throughout the life of the project.