Preliminary Comments and Questions
We have never had any of our concerns addressed. We have never had any further useful information on this Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, except on mailing of a meaningless company promotional flyer. The Enbridge web site maps are useless, except to tell us that this Project will cut through the Buck Creek Valley and Buck Creek.
Now, since the Throne Speech of 2008 February, we learn that this Project is â€˜off-the-shelfâ€™ and back in the assessment process. We did not receive any notification of this from the company; there have only been media releases stating that Enbridge and their consultants â€œare meeting with Local Governments and with First Nations.â€
We do notice a new labelâ€¦..our Houston Mayor Sharon Smith and others use the term â€œEnergy Corridorâ€. These people support this Enbridge Project without qualification or questions. To those of us that live here in the Buck Creek Valley, this means that several Projects will be aggregated within the Northern Gateway right-of-way, including the potential for High-Voltage Transmission Lines emanating from Wind Farms also being proposed along the pipeline route.
Soâ€¦.one of our main concerns is that the Federal Review and Assessment of â€œImpactsâ€ will not be inclusive of the real footprint and full adverse hazardsâ€™ description of all of the proposed and potential accumulation of additional pipelines (LNG-Pembina, for example) and for the surface and visual impacts of towers of power-transmission line corridor running through our valley.
The company prefers to call themselves â€œvisitorsâ€â€¦ I would use the word â€œintrudersâ€. My concerns and questions are listed below.
Since the pipeline Project of Enbridge will create disturbance/impacts to our Quality of Life, and continuous hazard of the risk of pipeline spills, the property values in our Buck Valley area will be adversely impacted:
Does the company plan to compensate all local landowners for the loss of their property values?
The company states that many jobs will create local benefits. Will local people be hired at all? Or, will crews come directly from Alberta to complete most work?
Will local companies receive priority for contracts? â€¦for catering? â€¦for anything?
How does the company plan to purchase â€œlocallyâ€, when they are already making commitments to Smithers and to Terrace for economic benefits? The pipeline goes no where near these communities.
The Fishery Values are an economic benefit that, while endangered, is renewable and sustainable if managed properly. What is the dollar amount that is required for the Security Bond that will pay for aquatic ecosystem damage and/or restoration? â€¦for the Construction Phase? â€¦for the Operational Phase?
During Construction Phase, there will be increased traffic and noise disturbance on our valley. How will the company minimize hazards and risks to local people? How will they accommodate the tourism and recreational values during the construction phase? This concern would also include the Morice River and Crystal Creek backcountry.
Will the Enbridge work crews be prevented from fishing, hunting, ATV-recreatingâ€¦in essence overrunning our area during their â€œtime offâ€?
- *Mine Development and Operations, such as Kemess and Huckleberry, prevent their workers from engaging in these activities.
How is the Enbridge Company providing respect and recognition for Local Residents and Landowners that will be directly affected by their Pipeline Project versus interests in Terrace?
This is yet another systemâ€™s approach where local landowners are forced to take all of the adverse impacts and risks while the benefits go to â€œothersâ€ far removed from the actual Project.
The socialization of costs; the privatization of benefits.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Hap and I have lived here for a very long time (36years) because Buck Flats is a special place filled with life. While we have been visited by forest fires, floods and other crises, this land is â€œour place in this worldâ€.
The valley is quiet, except for wind in the trees and natural sounds. This value is a privilege and makes our lives calm and serene. The Construction Phase of this Project will destroy that quiet.
The valley scenery is always changing and we do have impacts from timber harvest and Mountain Pine Beetle, but the valley retains a natural view-scape. Any additional Projects, such as Transmission Lines, will adversely affect our view-scape and our Buck Flats Community-held values for maintaining nature.
While we do have industrial traffic due to timber harvest, these intrusions are periodicâ€¦.and, the contractors and log-trucks abide by the â€œrules of the roadâ€. How will all of the increased traffic be managed due to the Pipeline Construction Phase? The Carrier Road is used by all of us for access to recreation in the backcountry, Francois/Tahtsa/Morice. The Carrier Road cannot handle such an increased traffic load density and be â€œsafeâ€ for local recreation.
The Project Right-of-Way with buried pipelines will provide an ATV corridor that will disrupt the entire valley; animals, soils, people. How will Enbridge prevent the use of the pipeline corridor right-of-way from becoming an ATV/snow-machine abuse area?
We and many of our neighbors depend upon Buck Creek as a domestic water supply, for gardens, for animals, for some, even their homes. Buck Creek is the center of our property here; we live with many animals and species that live in and around Buck Creek. This Enbridge Project puts at Risk all of the Buck Creek attributes and functions and we valueâ€¦.and upon which we depend.
We all live below that Hazard Zone of this Pipeline Project, since the Project also crosses the Klo Creek Tributary of Buck Creek.
The Municipal Wells that supply household water to all of Houston are located on Buck Creekâ€¦.and yet we have seen no concerns raised by Mayor or Council regarding the safety of this Project, the risks, or the consequences if a spill should occur. The hazards have not been assessed; people in Houston do not know the risks and quality of life will always include the availability of clean, safe water for households.
Buck Flats cannot support a Pump Station for this Enbridge Pipeline Proposal. The power lines are not adequate and the hazard of surface pipelines is not an â€œacceptableâ€ risk. Further, the noise levels from this pump station would adversely impact on the wide area of residential properties.
Buck Creek IS a Steelhead Nursery Stream. The fisheries inventory includes most species of anadromous/migratory fish and many resident species as well.
Buck Creek supports River Otter and the wide variety of wildlife indigenous to this area.
Buck Creek riparian areas provide for ungulate forage, including winter range during low-snow-fall years.
The Enbridge Pipeline Proposal will cross Buck Creek, at a location to be determined. We need maps that are accurate and that will reflect the REAL Project footprint.
There should be NO overhead crossing of Buck Creek by these Enbridge pipes; the pipelines must go under Buck Creek to lessen the hazard and risks to our watershed.
Since Buck Creek is the center of many of our private property holdings; Buck Creek flows through the center of my quarter section, the value and ecological integrity of Buck Creek is a primary reason for us living here.
How has the company acquired Local Knowledge regarding Buck Creek?
They have not spoken to any of us about this as yet â€¦October 2008.
How has the company acquired technical data? How has Enbridge identified â€œValuesâ€? How has Enbridge assessed Risks? How has Enbridge proposed to minimize those Risks?
What is the dollar value of Buck Creek? What is the dollar value of clean water to Houston and to local landowners? What is the Security Bond to be held by government that will cover the â€œcostâ€ of an oil spill and/or damage to Buck Creek?
In 2005, I advised Enbridge to include the BC Acid Rock Guidelines in their procedures, prior to Construction Phase. Acid Base Accounting/ABA tests should be done prior to any major bedrock disturbance since acidic drainage from broken, backfilled rock could lead to contamination of Buck Creek, Klo Creek and many other stream crossing, including the Morice River and the â€œtunnelsâ€ above the Crystal Creek drainage.
- *The worst scenario for maximum Acid Rock Drainage/ARD is Wet-Dry Cycles that allow for oxidation, then flushing of â€˜acidic productsâ€™ into the groundwater and/or surface water. The groundwater fluctuations here in Buck Creek Valley, or the Coast Mountains will allow for Wet-Dry Cycling. There will be many rock fracture surfaces from back-filled excavated rock. ABA sampling was NOT done for the 2005 Open House information sharing. Has that work now been done? What are the results? Where are the high-hazard zones? Please note that many areas around the Equity Mine pose a Hazard of ARDâ€¦.and that would also include some of the Coast Mountain Range/Crystal Road area.
Since the landowners and residents here in the Buck Creek Valley have not yet been consulted as to their Values, Local Knowledge or the Risks of this Project, how will the company provide a Local focus to their consultation program?
Those people most directly affected by this Project should have a voice in determining how this Enbridge Project will be constructed and managed to prevent adverse impacts to local Valuesâ€¦..NOT the townsfolk of Terrace.
There must be recognition that Local Government, Mayors and Councils, do not represent the interests of those of us that live rurally on the Buck Flats Road. Further, the Mayor and Council were elected to â€œmanageâ€ the Municipalityâ€¦.not to â€œapproveâ€ major Projects at any cost. And, further still, the Houston Mayor and Council, have not consulted with Buck Flats residents and landowners about anything for a very long time. I have not even heard a word expressed by this Houston Council about the Municipal Water Supply.
The legal requirements and the intent of CEAA or any Federal Review Process must be fulfilled. Enbridge consultants state that they are â€œmeeting the standardâ€ for consultation and for public information sharing. That is not accurate or true.
Until we locals went to the media, Houston Today, two weeks ago, we had no information from the company at all. The website Project Description maps are useless, and, for two familiesâ€¦.while Enbridge had acquired our personal contact information in 2005, they again never contacted us with any notice of Project â€œre-activationâ€ nor with any of the information that we requested in 2005.
We have requested notification of WHEN the Public Open House will occur in Houston 2008, so that we might attend. The company consultants cannot give us a definitive date and say, â€œâ€¦the end of Novemberâ€. This is completely obstructive and intended to prevent information sharing, public concerns from being expressed and/or local folks from knowing anything about a Project that will affect their lives, property values and future.
How will Enbridge and their consultants address the needs of Buck Creek Valley residents and landowners for accurate information? â€¦for input of Local Knowledge? â€¦for a Project that reflects the needs of local people that will live next to this Project for a very long time?
This Enbridge Pipeline Project will create high risks, due to the hazard of both Oil and Condensate supply traveling through our valley.
There is a high potential that other, additional Projects/pipelines will be included in this pipeline corridor, prior to Construction Phase or as surface transmission lines following the main construction phase.
This addition of â€œotherâ€ Projects, including transmission lines, should be assessed during this review process. Without an accurate inventoryâ€¦. of all Probable Additional Projects for this â€œENERGY CORRIDORâ€â€¦.we will not be able to assess all of the hazards and risks. The two-pipeline-only Project Assessment will create conditions where Approvals and Permits are simply amended, since governments (BC and Federal) will view those additions as â€œnot a significant changeâ€ to the original proposal.
- *If, for instance, LNG pipeline is included, the hazard for explosions is increased. If Power-lines are included, the impact to view-scapes and the hazard of transmission- lines- radiation is increased.
We would require that this Project reflect the issues raised, buried pipes for instance, and the values expressed by Buck Creek Valley residents and landowners.
If the Project is amended in any aspect; we require notification of those changes so that we can respond with our evaluations and concerns.
Safeguards during construction and the operational life of this Pipelinesâ€™ Project do not seem to be adequate. How will standards of Quality Accounting/Quality Control be required by government?
This ends my initial response to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. Tomorrow some of us are meeting with Doug Ford. A meeting summary will be forwarded next week.