FAQs

The 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. Do you have a question that isn’t answered below? Please contact us at coastalgaslink@tcenergy.com.

Read the Coastal GasLink project overview

 

Indigenous engagement and consultation

Coastal GasLink has the utmost respect for the First Nations system in British Columbia, whether that be elected or hereditary. It is out of this respect that we never made assumptions about who has decision-making authority. Instead, we strived to engage with all the Indigenous groups along the pipeline route—regardless of history or background—to ensure they’ve had opportunities to be part of our project planning process.

Since the project began in 2012, the Coastal GasLink team has engaged in a wide range of consultation activities with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and directly with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. In fact, more than 1,300 phone calls and emails have occurred to discuss the project over the past six years, including approximately 120 in-person meetings specifically with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

Coastal GasLink is proud of the relationships it has built over the past seven years. We appreciate the strong support we have received from Indigenous groups during this process, including through all 20 project and community agreements that have been reached with the elected Indigenous bands along the project route.

We will ensure that Indigenous communities are informed about our project and have opportunities to provide input on the 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 Indigenous communities are informed about our project and have opportunities to provide input on the project.

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.

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.

Prior to the Environmental Assessment Certificate being issued, Coastal GasLink analyzed a number of potential routes. The analysis of these routes was shared with the Office of the Wet'suwet'en (OW) and the Hereditary Chiefs.

The analysis determined that the alternative routes were not feasible and therefore the route that was ultimately approved by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) was selected. Following the issuance of the EAC, and based on input from the OW and members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, an alternate route was identified; the South of Houston Alternate Route (SHAR). Coastal GasLink applied for and received an amendment to the EAC for the South of Houston Alternate Route (SHAR).

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.

Was cultural and heritage resource protection considered as part of the project development?

Coastal GasLink recognizes that B.C. is rich in cultural and heritage resources and we take our obligation to construct responsibly very seriously. The project’s environmental assessment was rigorous and included assessment for cultural and heritage resources and potential archeological sites. These studies were completed by qualified experts and involved field work that included participation from interested local First Nations.

Identifying and ensuring the preservation of artifacts – or other physical evidence of past human activity that may be of cultural heritage value or interest – was an integral part of the careful and proactive planning that went into this project. We have a Heritage Resource Discovery Contingency Plan in place that was developed in accordance with provincial regulations and reviewed and approved as part of the regulatory process to avoid or mitigate cultural heritage effects. 

Is Coastal GasLink aware of the oral history of the Kweese War Trail?

Early in project development process, Coastal GasLinked reviewed the Delgamuukw transcripts. This was done at the suggestion of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (OW) and Hereditary Chiefs. The Kweese War Trail as described in the transcripts tells the story of the war party traveling to the coast and provides details on various places the party stopped along the way but does not provide a definitive trail location.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en provided Coastal GasLink with maps that they said identified the Kweese War Trail.  

While no evidence of this trail was found by a qualified archeologist in our pre-assessment, we nonetheless worked diligently to protect the areas identified on the maps provided, including the careful and planned avoidance of the specific areas of concern. The areas identified by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en remain intact and protected. We fundamentally disagree that any cultural values have been impacted based on the maps provided by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. The area identified by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en has been protected and has not been cleared, contrary to claims of such.

What kind of evaluation was done on the Kweese War Trail?
Extensive study has been done in this location, in accordance with the applicable standards and practices using qualified archeologists and with the participation of interested Indigenous groups. This involved on-the-ground study in 2013, 2015 and again in 2019.

What protections are in place to protect the areas around the location identified as the Kweese War Trail?  
A number of measures have been taken to safeguard the area in the vicinity, including the placement of corduroy matting, which prevents disturbance to soils. These measures have been taken in consultation with the regulator and interested Indigenous groups. The Office of the Wet’suwet’en has not responded to invitations to participate in this process and we continue to welcome the opportunity to discuss this topic.
 

How has Coastal GasLink evaluated heritage and cultural resources for the project?

The Archeological Impact Assessment for the project was one component of the process for regulatory review, which was supported by more than 7,000 pages of documentation. The entire corridor was assessed using qualified archeologists and accepted methods of study, which included field work in which interested Indigenous groups participated. Certain locations were targeted for additional assessment and field study. The area in the vicinity of the location identified as a heritage trail was further studied this year.   

Information about how the AIA report was prepared is documented and available to the public under Heritage Inspection Permit 2013-0033.

 


Permitting

Coastal GasLink has in place all major permits required to construct, including an Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC).

The EAC was issued with a number of conditions, which have been satisfied with exception of certain work within the Morice River area as we were prevented accessing this area due to the previous blockade and we are working to satisfy the condition related to that area. 

As Justice Church noted in the injunction decision, Coastal GasLink tried unsuccessfully on multiple occasions to access the areas for the purpose of conducting the necessary field work to complete conditions.

“The plaintiff made repeated attempts to consult directly with Dark House and offered to provide information, discuss the concerns of Dark House regarding the Pipeline Project and ways to mitigate the potential impacts to Dark House territory. Dark House was invited to participate in the Environmental Assessment Office’s Working Group for the Pipeline Project but refused to do so.”

The original environmental assessment of this project, which was supported by a 7,000-page application and included thousands of hours technical and fieldwork, considered the potential effects of the project on the use of land and resources for traditional purposes, which included hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.
The assessment considered these factors in the vicinity of the Healing Centre with available information at the time of the assessment. The assessment concluded there would be no long-lasting negative effects resulting from the project.

Coastal GasLink remains committed to ongoing dialogue and to working with Dark House (Unist’ot’en) to understand their concerns and wherever possible, address them. 

The full decision injunction is available here

The original environmental assessment certificate announcement is here

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 the 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
  • Wildlife
  • Terrain stability
  • Engineering

You can read more about permitting in this announcement.

Permit conditions are legal operational guidelines provided by regulators that direct Coastal GasLink on how it is to undertake pipeline construction and operation activities.

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.

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.

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.

Compliance

Information about site inspections and compliance is available from the Government of B.C.

Learn more compliance.

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.

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.


Construction

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.

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.

Construction activities started in January 2019 following a positive Final Investment Decision (FID) by the joint venture partners of LNG Canada (our pipeline customers).

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

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.

Safety

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

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. TC Energy 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.

Project benefits

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.

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.

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.

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, TC Energy’s education and training programs have opened up over 450 seats in classrooms for students in B.C. Since 2012, TC Energy has invested approximately $6.5 million in communities like yours.

Environment

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 Question and answers page.

Watch the video that shows the different types of crossings:

 

Coastal GasLink will not be producing the natural gas – our role is to ensure the safe transportation of natural gas once it is produced.

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.

General FAQs

On Oct. 2, 2018, TC Energy 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 $6.6-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 TC Energy will construct and operate the pipeline.

Our focus remains in the successful construction of the project.

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.

Have a question? Ask us here.