SMITHERS, B.C. – A resident of Smithers has launched a jurisdictional challenge against the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would supply the proposed $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat with natural gas from Northeast B.C.
The Province newspaper is reporting that Michael Sawyer, who spent two decades as an environmental consultant in the oil and gas sector in Alberta, is arguing that the $4.7-billion pipeline owned by TransCanada should have faced a federal environmental review instead of a provincial one.
Previously, Sawyer launched a similar challenge against TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, but that was rejected by the National Energy Board.
However, last year the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the NEB, saying that it must consider whether the pipeline fell under federal jurisdiction.
Sawyer has completed the first step in the process in the case against Coastal GasLink, filing an application with the NEB to review which level of government has environmental jurisdiction over the pipeline.
If the NEB approves Sawyer’s application, it would then hold a hearing.
If Sawyer is successful in that hearing, that would mean a federal review of the pipeline would be required, which could potentially delay construction if LNG Canada goes ahead.
Sawyer said he is not outright opposed to LNG, but it needs to be demonstrated that it is in the public interest, which he believes has not been done in the Coastal Gas Link case.