Coastal GasLink accused of ruining salmon habitat

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Coastal GasLink has been accused by Wet’suet’en officials of destroying salmon and steelhead spawning grounds along the Clore River. 

Wet’suet’en officials said in a release by the David Suzuki Foundation that overhead monitoring of the Clore River, or Lho Kwa, area via helicopter inspection flights revealed that construction at the river had disturbed the fish spawning grounds. 

It is believed that the installation of pumps to divert the river had kicked up gravel and sediment, potentially smothering fish eggs downstream from the Coastal GasLink construction site.

Gary Michell, Head Ranger for Wet’suet’en Fisheries, who was on one of the inspection flights on January 10th, said fish like salmon and steelhead are already at risk. 

“Skeena salmon and steelhead are facing many serious threats to their survival; digging up riverbeds without sediment and erosion control doesn’t help,” Michell said. 

This is not the first time Coastal GasLink has come under fire for its lack of sediment control. 

Coastal GasLink received two separate fines in 2022 from the provincial Environmental Assessment Office, one in May and the other in February. Both occurred after the Environmental Assessment Office issued the company a compliance order about sediment control and disturbance in 2020. 

Energeticcity.ca reached out to Coastal GasLink for a comment on the accusations and was directed to a statement the company had put on their website on January 12th. They also said they could not answer any questions about the matter at this time.  

In the statement, Coastal GasLink said they were “committed to achieving the highest standards of environmental protection across our 670-kilometre project route.” 

CGL continued by saying that all work is regulated and complies with provincial regulations. It was also noted that construction sites were inspected approximately 12 times a month. 

To read the full report, including photos from the inspection flights, visit the David Sukuzi Foundation’s website.

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