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Lack of permits for pipeline survey is troubling
By Kaleigh Allen
My family has been in the Kispiox Valley for six generations.
We have strong roots here as guide outfitters, rodeo stock contractors, loggers, trappers, and we own and operate the Bearclaw Lodge in the upper Kispiox Valley.
Recently, I had a run-in with some LNG pipeline surveyors cutting a trail from the Kispiox Valley Road down to the Kispiox River along our property line and through our recreation tenure. I asked if they had permits and was told “well, not a permit per se.” They stopped cutting.
Infuriated, I emailed Forestry immediately. For us to cut a trail on our own recreation tenure, we need permits, plans, and it’s a long process that focuses on several environmental impacts, consultation with First Nations, maps, etc. yet this company can go wherever it wants to cut trails and helipads right down to our world famous salmon and steelhead rivers?
Seems a little off kilter to me. Years ago, our family was fined for cutting a single tree on an existing trail within our own recreation tenure, yet these pipeline surveyors have free range and no permits? According to Forestry, it’s perfectly legal under the Survey Act.
So, I read into the Survey Act and discovered several infractions had been committed; the removal of oversize trees, heli-pads cut at major river confluences, etc.
I pursued my grievance with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO). I simply wanted to know who was responsible for monitoring the activity and would they check into it? “The responsibility to do compliance and enforcement on gas pipeline projects is with Oil and Gas Commission (OGC).”
I went to the OGC and they replied “No permits have been issued in regards to gas pipelines through the Kispiox. I cannot speak knowledgeably about the Survey Act as it is not under the commission’s governance.”
It begs the question, does government have a clue? If they don’t, why not? If they do, why aren’t they doing anything about it? Without a single permit issued, there is already confusion, vagueness and too many unanswered questions. We have over 10 natural-gas pipelines being proposed to our coast, but only 3 companies have identified themselves.
We are talking about changing the economic structure of our entire province and yet, we have not had a conversation as a region about how we want this industry developed.
More importantly, we haven’t had the conversation about whether or not it’s a good fit. Logging, mining and other industry has had a lot of community consultation and extensive Land, Resource Management Planning that my family participated in as volunteers for decades.
All that time and dedication has been deemed “irrelevant” by government for the LNG industry.
The BC government seems to be turning a blind eye to some simple facts. Massive lands will be cleared at our rivers and within our forests to allow this pipeline to be built.
We are in Northern BC, the practices used in Alberta’s geography don’t fit into our forests, nor do they suit the habitat supported by them. This industry is on track to pump more pollution into our airshed than the tarsands, several reports claim this will even cause acid rain.
I know the majority of our sockeye fry hang out on Flora Bank in the Skeena Estuary to acclimatize to the salt water and that’s precisely where one LNG company has proposed their massive terminal that will see 220 tankers each year. 100 meters away is another LNG terminal also bringing 220 tankers per year.
I can’t support an industry that puts our wild salmon economy ($110 million/year) at risk as it’s the very economy that employs my entire family and many other residents.
I’m feeling betrayed by our government and the Oil and Gas Commission. They don’t have a clue what’s going on. The people who live here see it everyday and I think it’s time to say, enough is enough
Kaleigh Allen lives in the Kispiox Valley where her family owns and operates the Bearclaw Lodge.