BC Government Opens up Provincial Park to Allow Pipeline Expansion
May 13, 2016 – VANCOUVER – On Thursday the BC Government passed legislation that changes the boundaries of Finn Creek Provincial Park to allow the proposed Kinder Morgan TransMountain oil pipeline to pass through it, despite earlier statements indicating that it does not meet their conditions for approval. The park, located on the North Thompson River, protects important spawning habitat for bull trout, Coho and Chinook salmon, and supports grizzly bear and moose populations. This is the first of four provincial parks that Kinder Morgan has requested be opened up to accommodate the pipeline.
“This pipeline project clearly threatens the values that this park was established to protect. It should never have been allowed to proceed this far, let alone be approved. Allowing industrial activity in an ecologically sensitive area like Finn Creek Park runs counter to the government’s mandate of protecting these places,” says Peter Wood, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (BC Chapter).
In January 2016, the BC Ministry of Environment made a formal submission to the National Energy Board (NEB) indicating that the pipeline proposal does not meet conditions the Province set out in 2012. The NEB has yet to make a decision on the proposal.
“Why is the BC Government proceeding as if this pipeline project is a done deal? It’s inappropriate for the province to be allocating resources to opening up our parks for a pipeline, let alone one that may never be approved,” says Wood. “This is particularly shocking given the high levels of opposition from First Nations and the general public.”
The other parks that this pipeline expansion will affect are ecologically important and protect fragile ecosystems and wildlife, and any removal of lands will put these places at unnecessary risk. Approving these requested boundary adjustments undermines the integrity of B.C.’s entire parks system, and sets a dangerous precedent for all of B.C.’s protected areas.
CPAWS and over 30 other participants withdrew from the Kinder Morgan’s NEB review in August 2015 over concerns that the process was biased in favour of approving the project. The NEB is expected to deliver its final report by May 20.
A SumofUs.org petition against allowing pipelines through parks has attracted over 160,000 signatures to date.
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B.C. responds to NEB hearing order for Kinder Morgan project
Finn Creek Provincial Park Website
Backgrounder on the Parks Act and Boundary Adjustments
Petition against allowing pipelines through parks being delivered to the BC Government in May 2014