Report creates concerns about pipelines in NW B.C.

Landslides will eventually cut any pipeline routed through west central B.C..

Landslides will eventually cut any pipeline routed through west central B.C., says a report submitted last week to the Bulkley Valley Research Centre.

The report looked at how landslides and erosion form along a proposed pipeline route that runs from Burns Lake to Kitimat.

“It is a highly unstable area, and the likelihood of a landslide happening is extremely high,” said James Schwab, who authored the report.

Schwab retired three years ago after working 30 years as a research geomorphologist in the BC Forest Service. His report draws primarily on his own published work and experience in northwest B.C.

While the report does not specify any one pipeline, it does looks at the same east-west corridor where Enbridge, a Canadian oil and gas company, proposes to build two parallel pipelines.

One would carry crude oil west from Fort Saskatchewan to tankers in Kitimat. The other pipeline would carry a thinner that energy companies use to extract oil from sand in Alberta.

If approved, the two pipelines would cross three distinct geographic areas west of Burns Lake: the Nechako Plateau, the Hazelton Mountains and the Kitimat Ranges.

The Nechako Plateau south of Houston has sites of spreading bedrock that show active landslide movement, said Schwab.

And along the Morice River, he said, glaciers have deposited lake sediments that caused large landslides as recently as the 1950s and 1960s.

West of there, the proposed pipeline corridor moves into the Hazelton Mountains.

“They are a real problem,” Schwab said.

With so much volcanic rock lying on top of harder granite and other materials, he said the Hazelton Mountains are covered in landslide sites.

And in the last 30 years, he added, rockslides in that area have cut a natural gas pipeline three times.

Finally, in the steep valleys of the Kitimat Ranges, Schwab said debris flows have caused many landslides, as have the glacial marine deposits in that area.

Schwab and his colleagues have already published reports that highlight similar issues in professional journals like Landslides and Natural Hazards.

But the former researcher said he intended this report to be read by a wider public, and to inform the debate over pipeline proposals in B.C.

“I knew there was a need to put something out there, in terms of the geomorphology of the route,” said Schwab. “The information was just not there.”

Schwab said he also expects his report will be presented at the joint review panel that is considering the proposed Enbridge pipelines. He has registered as a speaker in the upcoming public hearings on the project.

The Bulkley Valley Research Centre, which commissioned the report, is a non-profit society based in Smithers. The society’s stated goal is to promote environmental science in the public interest, and it includes more than 100 members who are involved in natural resources research.

A copy of the report is available on the BVRC website.

 

Just Posted

It’s time to say “I see you”

Chief speaks out on First Nations issues

Nak’azdli Whut’en a vital part of Fort St. James

Progressive and self sufficient, the First Nation looks to the future

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. man charged with litany of drug charges in cross-border smuggling operation

William Milton Barnes of Saanich faces multiple charges

Political heavyweights hit Washington in hunt for NAFTA deal

Officials from Prime Minister’s office, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland part of talks

Greenbelt Microgreens recall in B.C., Alberta, due to Listeria concerns

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there have been no illnesses linked to the microgreens

Commit to harassment-free environment or forego federal arts funding: Joly

$552,000 coming from feds for training so arts organizations build, maintain respectful workplaces

Aquilini-linked ranch fined $70,000 for storing cranes on farmland

Pitt Meadows council supporting application to Agricultural Land Commission

Minister calls out misogyny, but PM says too soon to talk motive in van attack

Alek Minassian is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder

Decorated Canadian pairs skaters Duhamel and Radford officially retire

The Ontario duo took bronze in pairs at the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea

Most Read