Northern B.C. pipeline connector recommended for approval

Two parallel, 215-kilometre long natural gas liquids pipelines from B.C. to Alberta proposed by NorthRiver Midstream have been recommended for approval by the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator.

The commission held oral Indigenous knowledge sessions in Fort St. John in January 2023, allowing affected First Nations to respond to different versions of offset plans to mitigate impacts.

Authorization for construction and operation of the connector project should be subject to 49 conditions, recommended the commission in its October 18 report.

The conditions are related to construction, safety, environmental protection, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, offsets, employment and monitoring, as well as incorporating Indigenous knowledge and engagement from affected First Nations.

The proposed project would be located 25 km northwest of Wonowon, B.C., connecting to a site in the Gordondale area of Alberta, approximately 19 km east of the B.C. and Alberta border. The project is intended to meet needs for growth volumes of natural gas liquid and condensate from the Montney region in northeast B.C.

Due to the Yahey v British Columbia decision and the project's location, it requires express negotiation and consultation over resource industry use with First Nations in the region.

As of part of its application, NorthRiver acknowledged there would be adverse cumulative effects in the project area and committed to implementing measures to offset those effects.

The commission concluded that NorthRiver should contribute to the Blueberry River First Nation – B.C. Restoration fund, the Treaty 8 Restoration Fund, and establish an Indigenous-led land fund to help offset impacts.

The Canadian Energy Regulator Act requires that the commission’s recommendation report be submitted to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. The minister will then take the recommendation report to the Governor in Council, who will decide whether to direct the commission to issue a certificate.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News