You asked. We answered.
Questions below came from various community leaders, First Nations leaders and members, guests at information sessions, landowners, and community members along the pipeline route. Here’s your chance to get the answers to frequently asked questions including information about construction, jobs and safety.
FAQ’s on Indigenous Engagement and Consultation
How have you engaged First Nations on your project?
We are committed to building and maintaining positive relationships with First Nation communities and Métis organizations, and proud of the work we have done to work with all First Nations communities identified along our right-of-way. To date, the Coastal GasLink team has had over 15,000 interactions and engagements with Indigenous communities along the proposed pipeline route, and more than one-third of all the work completed on the project has been conducted by Indigenous people.
Our team has and will continue to ensure that Indigenous communities are informed and have opportunities to provide input to the project. We have worked with communities to understand their needs for capacity funding, and will continue to work with First Nations to ensure that their traditional land uses and traditional ecological knowledge are considered in our project planning.
We will ensure that Aboriginal communities are informed about our project and have opportunities to provide input on the project.
Are First Nations people being included in the consultation process?
Consultation with communities and stakeholders began early in the project development process. Since the announcement of the project in June 2012, Coastal GasLink engaged with 31 First Nations, two Tribal Councils and two Metis organizations, while focused consultation has taken place with 30 groups identified in the BC EAO Section 11 Order.
We’ve had over 15,000 interactions and engagements with First Nations communities about Coastal GasLink. Additionally, we developed and distributed information materials, including notifications of permit applications, and have advanced agreements to outline relationship protocols and capacity funding, as well as Traditional Knowledge sharing and participation in project activities and planning.
Throughout the engagement process with First Nations, we have held discussions and met on various subjects including the distribution and review of a draft ancillary site map outlining proposed features such as access roads, compressor stations, campsites, etc.; contracting and employment opportunities; economic benefits; and routing of the proposed project corridor through each First Nation’s traditional territory. Our team members have attended community meetings to review the proposed project with community members. First Nations communities have actively engaged in our meetings, and participation on both sides has been productive, meaningful and respectful and positive.
Did Coastal GasLink engage the Wet’suwet’en community in the consultation process?
The Wet’suwet’en community had an integral role in helping to shape the project from the very beginning. We’ve held over 120 in-person meetings with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and have had over 1,300 other interactions (calls and emails). We will continue to collaborate at every stage of the process.
How did Coastal GasLInk engage the Wet’suwet’en community in the project development process?
Our collaborative approach with the Wet’suwet’en has been meaningful and informative. Our detailed discussions included field schedules, archeology programs, spatial files, stream crossings, wildlife and vegetation field data, technical reports and surveys.
Extensive discussions have taken place with the community regarding the selection of the proposed route. Additionally, we conducted joint socio-economic studies to identify potential cultural, social and economic impacts or benefits of the project. 42 Wet’suwet’en community members were thoroughly engaged on the project to better understand important sites for traditional activities.
FAQ’s on Construction and Permitting
How is Coastal GasLink permitted?
The B.C. government, through the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) and Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) regulates approval of natural gas pipeline projects. There are a number of permits required for the pipeline and facilities construction. There are also local permits required for some of the work, depending on what and where the work is located.
Each of the OGC permits related to pipeline and facilities construction includes up to 70 conditions which will govern implementation of the project related to:
- Ongoing reporting to the regulator
- Notification of affected parties during construction
- First Nations engagement
- Heritage conservation
- Stream crossings
- Land clearing
- Terrain stability
You can read more about permitting in this announcement.
What are permit conditions?
Permit conditions are legal operational guidelines provided by regulators that direct Coastal GasLink on how it is to undertake pipeline construction and operation activities.
What do the permit conditions cover?
Permit conditions usually protect environmental, social and economic values that have been identified during the environmental assessment process as being important to protect and mitigate from potential impacts.
What are some examples of permit conditions?
Some examples of permit conditions would be not to undertake water crossing construction activities during times important to fish for passage or spawning; not to undertake tree clearing activities during important bird nesting or migratory seasons and to provide potentially impacted communities, such as First Nations, with advance notice of activities in nearby areas.
Can permit conditions be varied or amended?
Yes, regulators can amend permit conditions based on an application from Coastal GasLink or any other project proponent. Permit conditions generally cover larger than necessary time periods or areas and can, under certain circumstances, be amended to allow for construction activities to occur despite a permit condition having been ordered by a regulator.
What was the result of the recent construction site inspections?
Following a Jan. 29, 2019 joint Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) construction site inspection, the OGC notified Coastal GasLink that the project is in compliance with OGC requirements but did not provide a prescribed notice to the OGC 48 hours in advance of construction commencement. The project acknowledges and regrets this oversight. The project has reviewed its procedures to prevent a similar recurrence, and remains committed to meeting regulatory requirements.
The OGC letter can be reviewed here.
Will our recent construction-related activities impact the local community or Unist’ot’en healing centre?
No. The location of our recent construction-related activities is 17 kilometers from the camp. Coastal GasLink has established and permitted work sites, which were surveyed in mid-January to delineate boundaries. Our crews have been working in an area that was previously cleared and their focus has been on site preparation and rough grading for placement of the housing units.
Additionally, safety of our people and those in nearby communities is paramount and we will have measures in place to ensure camp rules are followed.
Has your recent construction-related activities impacted traditional activities, specifically traplines?
While conducting approved and permitted work in the ancillary sites of the project, approximately 17 kilometres from the Morice Bridge location, Coastal GasLink crews encountered newly erected animal traps in the trees and newly erected signage stating there were traps on the work site. Coastal GasLink had previously provided notice to trappers that work was being done in the area, to ensure awareness and to prevent any disturbance to traditional activities.
The work occurring on the access roads, ancillary sites and the right-of-way is an active construction site accessible to authorized personnel only.
It is important to us that all of our worksites are safe and our workers go home safe each and every day.
We have taken steps to notify the trap owner that the traps must be removed from the area and will continue to try to work collaboratively with them.
Has Coastal GasLink met its pre-construction conditions?
Coastal GasLink is in full compliance with the Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC) and as of Nov. 19, 2018, has met all the required pre-construction conditions.
The project acknowledges that a warning of non-compliance was issued by the BC Environmental Assessment Office following an inspection last year. The inspection found Coastal GasLink was in compliance with 17 of 23 EAC pre-construction conditions. It was Coastal GasLink’s understanding that certain work required prior to construction, such as geotechnical earthworks or the placement of monitoring wells typically and routinely done in advance of construction, was appropriate. The inspection has since clarified that these activities fell under the definition of construction.
Coastal GasLink has since satisfied all the conditions and is on track with pre-construction and construction activities.
Why is Coastal GasLink moving forward with an injunction process to begin construction?
With the successful announcement of a Final Investment Decision (FID) by our Joint Venture Partners, the Coastal GasLink project needs access to the Morice River bridge and a public access road to begin construction activities. For the Coastal GasLink team, this decision was not taken lightly. Unfortunately, it has become a last resort and a necessary action in our efforts to safely gain access to the Morice River Bridge, after years of attempting to engage the blockade to work through a solution.
When will you start construction?
Construction activities started in January 2019 following a positive Final Investment Decision (FID) by the joint venture partners of LNG Canada (our pipeline customers).
How will you communicate the planning and construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to the community?
We believe engagement is a two-way process. We encourage British Columbians to share their views and concerns with us through outlets such as this web page.
Where possible, we prefer face-to-face communication with people potentially affected by the project. Our communications and engagement program has included and will continue to include free, public community information sessions; presentations to local government councils and community groups; community engagement brochures, newsletters and information packages; and the project website.
Will the pipeline be buried under the ground? How many compressor stations will be constructed?
The pipeline will be buried at a depth of approximately one (1) metre, and the project will include the construction of some above-ground facilities. For example, meter stations measure the volume of natural gas moving through the pipeline. Compressor stations are used to increase the gas pressure to transport the gas through the pipeline.
It is expected that the pipeline will require one compressor station at the start of operations. As many as seven could be added along the corridor in the future, depending on the volume of natural gas needing to be shipped.
Learn more about pipeline construction.
Is the pipeline going to be constructed through the Unist’ot’en camp?
The proposed pipeline location is approximately 1 km south from the Unist’ot’en camp. It does not cross through the camp.
Will construction of the pipeline impact those in the camp? Will those in the camp be relocated?
Coastal GasLink only requires access across a public road. Camp infrastructure will remain in place and those visiting the camp are welcome to stay, as long as field and construction crews can safely gain access to our pipeline right of way.
Will construction of a natural gas pipeline lead to its future conversion to an oil pipeline?
All of our studies, the design, and construction are planned for natural gas transportation. There are no plans to convert this line to any other use. Coastal GasLink will also be bound by contract to provide natural gas for a minimum of 25 years, with numerous options to renew this service. The LNG Canada facilities, to which the pipeline will deliver natural gas, have no need for oil; they and the upstream natural reserves represent a significant capital investment and are expected to operate for well in excess of 25 years.
In addition, any future change to the use of the pipeline is subject to regulatory approval, including full consultation with government, local communities and First Nations.
FAQ’s on safety
What safety precautions are taken where pipelines cross rivers?
We recognize that waterways, such as rivers, are a particular concern to many communities. Rivers would be crossed using standard pipeline industry techniques that mitigate potential environmental effects and comply with all regulations.
We’ve created a video to help explain how pipeline river crossings are built, and you’ll find more information in our Q&A.
What happens if there is a natural gas leak along the pipeline?
We use high-quality steel and the best construction practices when building pipelines. All pipe is tested well above normal operating pressure before it is put into operation. Our pipelines are cathodically protected, which means a low-voltage electric current is induced in the vicinity of the pipeline to inhibit external corrosion. Pipelines are monitored 24 hours a day by trained operators who respond immediately to any indication of abnormal operation.
Cleaning and inspection tools called “smart PIGs,” are pushed along inside the pipeline using the pressure of the natural gas itself. These tools gather data for the assessment of pipeline integrity. The information gathered helps shape our pipeline maintenance programs. When anomalies are detected, the pipeline segment in question may be excavated and visually inspected. It is either repaired on the spot or replaced. The pipeline right-of-way is also patrolled on the ground or from the air.
Every year we invest millions of dollars in preventive maintenance and integrity programs that help us proactively identify and upgrade the safety and operation of our energy infrastructure network. However, if an emergency occurs, we quickly confirm the exact location of the emergency and identify affected facilities. Valves spaced at intervals throughout the pipeline system shut off the flow of gas and allow the location to be effectively isolated. We work closely with local emergency service groups, regulatory agencies, landowners, community officials and the media throughout any incident.
Learn more about pipeline safety.
Will compressor stations disrupt the community with bright lights and noise? Can we expect to see flaring gas into the air?
There are no routine gas emissions from compressor stations. Any venting at the station would only be done under controlled conditions for pipeline and station maintenance or as a result of a pipeline emergency. There are no flare stacks proposed for our compressor stations and little to no gas emissions. TransCanada is recognized as a leader in greenhouse gas emissions management, with particular emphasis on methane emissions management programs.
Noise levels are regulated and will be at or less than 40 decibels at all areas within 1.5 km of compressor stations. Noise levels will be routinely monitored to ensure they remain in compliance with the appropriate local regulations. We engineer stations to minimize the noise impact to the surrounding areas, including silencers and noise attenuation on the buildings. We also contain our turbo compressors within acoustic enclosures inside our compressor buildings. The compressor buildings themselves are purposely built to further ease noise levels. Our teams work diligently to ensure noise levels are no more than 45 decibels at our station fence line. This is equivalent to the sound of a refrigerator humming or a running stream, and is consistent with normal background noise in the area. As a point of comparison, normal conversation at one metre is 60 decibels.
Our compressor stations are unmanned and facility lights are shut off at night (except for safety lights over doorways) unless there are maintenance activities being conducted.
FAQ’s on Project Benefits
How will you make jobs and contracting opportunities available to northern B.C. residents?
We will create jobs and contracting opportunities to benefit northern B.C., the province and the Canadian economy. Jobs will span a wide range of skill levels and trade specializations, with the greatest demand occurring during the construction phase of the project.
We will employ qualified and economically competitive local contractors and support services where practical. Examples of contracting opportunities may include: equipment rentals and purchases, fuel supplies, construction materials, accommodation and food services, helicopter and aircraft rentals, and more.
How many jobs will be created from this project?
We anticipate that 2,000 to 2,500 short-term jobs will be created on our pipeline project, which will bring millions in economic benefits to local communities. In addition, approximately 16 to 35 permanent field positions for operations and maintenance will be maintained once the pipeline is operational. While long-term pipeline-related jobs will be small in relation to construction jobs, the long-term, ongoing economic benefits to local communities will be substantial, including investment in local communities through our community investment partnerships and our education and training plan.
Will Indigenous communities benefit from this project?
Indigenous people are already benefiting economically from our northern B.C. pipeline projects, participating in tens of thousands of hours of environmental field work as advisors, technicians and support employees. In fact, to date, more than one-third of all the work completed on the project has been conducted by Indigenous people.
Additionally, $620 million in contract work has been awarded to Indigenous businesses for the project’s right-of-way clearing, medical, security and camp management needs, with another estimated $400 million in additional contract and employment opportunities for Indigenous and local B.C. communities during pipeline construction.
Will education and training programs be offered to local and Indigenous communities?
We’ve developed a plan with two components to invest in skills development and long-term education programs to support Aboriginal and local residents and trainees, like our Pathway to Pipeline Readiness and Education Legacy Programs.
Since 2014, TransCanada’s education and training programs have opened up over 450 seats in classrooms for students in B.C. Since 2012, TransCanada has invested approximately $6.5 million in communities like yours.
FAQ’s on Environment
Will Coastal GasLink be involved in fracking?
Coastal GasLink will not be producing the natural gas – our role is to ensure the safe transportation of natural gas once it is produced.
Will the B.C. government want this pipeline regardless of the environmental cost?
Pipelines are required to undergo exhaustive environmental studies to ensure they meet stringent guidelines. Our project is being pursued under two British Columbia statutes, the Oil and Gas Activities Act, and the Environmental Assessment Act. Additional authorizations will be required to start construction activities, which will be pursued in a timely manner to meet the construction schedule. Other federal legislation that may be included in the regulatory framework for this project includes the Migratory Birds Convention Act, Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, and others.
Are you selling an equity stake in Coastal GasLink?
On Oct. 2, 2018, TransCanada announced it would proceed with construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. In conjunction with that announcement, the company noted that as part of its funding plan for this $6.2-billion project it intends to explore joint venture partners and project financing.
The company is in the early stages of discussions as it seeks investors to take a stake in Coastal GasLink. This joint venture partnership will have no impact on the operation of Coastal GasLink as TransCanada will construct and operate the pipeline.
Our focus remains in the successful construction of the project.