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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Trans Mountain says claims by scientist Mike Pearson that the project has destroyed salmon habitat are inaccurate and misleading.

In a story published by the Canadian Press on Sunday, scientist Mike Pearson said the work by the company was “amateur hour” on a Stewart Creek crossing near Chilliwack.

Trans Mountain posted a response to the article on Wednesday that said “The reporter cited concerns from an individual who was pointing to work done on a 17 metre stretch of Stewart Slough in the Fraser Valley to mitigate the shallow depth of cover over the pipeline. It’s important to note that Stewart Slough provides marginal fish habitat and suitable spawning habitat for salmonids is not present at this location.”

The Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in Stewart Creek in Chilliwack, B.C., on Dec. 12, 2018, in this handout photo. Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the company’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Mike Pearson)

Pearson claimed work in the area was completed in August to September of last year. He visited the site in December and took photos that he says show most of the stones have been swept away by currents, leaving the concrete blocks exposed.

Trans Mountain said “Comments that were made regarding stones being swept away by currents and leaving concrete blocks exposed are inaccurate. There has been no detectable level of mobilization of gravels.”

December 20, 2018. Immediately downstream of the TMPL ROW during a post-construction site inspection showing high water levels have reached the delineated high water mark. Sustained conditions such as these will lead to further accumulation of native substrate by natural recruitment – Trans Mountain

The company says they are also involved with a number of programs to enhance fish and fish habitat. For more of Trans Mountain’s response, click here.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has purchased the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing line that runs from the Edmonton area to Burnaby. The energy board completed its first review in 2016 and recommended the government approve the project with 157 conditions.

(With Files from the Canadian Press)

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