There are many projects proposed to transport oil and gas resources to British Columbia’s (BC’s) west coast. BC has multiple major pipeline transmission systems (e.g., Trans Mountain pipeline, Spectra Energy and Pacific Northern Gas), and at least six major oil and gas pipelines are planned for construction over the next decade [1]. Large pipeline projects like these that span hundreds of kilometres can involve multiple jurisdictions (federal, provincial or joint) and require considerable regulatory planning. Once a pipeline project is approved through an environmental assessment (EA) process, it must still undergo rigorous environmental review as part of regulatory permitting.

This paper provides an overview of oil and gas environmental regulatory processes in BC, with a focus on the role and process of the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BC OGC) as it pertains to environmental permitting requirements (i.e., legislation and regulation) for pipeline projects. Current regulatory application and review processes have been developed for small projects. This creates several unique considerations for major pipeline project applications. Among these is how best to coordinate the permit applications required for environmental management and protection of the diverse resource features of interest to BC regulatory agencies (e.g., culturally modified trees, riparian management areas, wildlife tree retention areas and old growth management areas).

This paper also highlights the need for an integrated multidisciplinary approach and discusses lessons learned related to strategic planning of permit applications. We provide examples of how collaboration among the proponent’s teams and multiple consultant teams is necessary to develop effective regulatory strategies and obtain timely approvals.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.