Letters to the Editor

Transmission line is following rules

Editor, The News:

Re: Diverting discussion from slash pile (Along the Fraser, Jan. 17).

As the project manager for B.C. Hydro’s Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Line project, I would like to respond to the recent opinion piece by Jack Emberly.

The new transmission line will expand the capacity of the transmission system that brings electricity from the Columbia and Peace regions to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. It will allow B.C. Hydro to continue to deliver clean and reliable energy to homes and businesses.

Protecting the environment throughout the construction of this line is a key priority for me and the whole project team. The project underwent a comprehensive review process to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate in 2009, as required under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act. The certificate includes a detailed list of commitments and assurances that must be adhered to. Failure to comply could result in the project being shut down.

Construction is proceeding under a comprehensive construction environmental management plan and detailed environmental protection plans. These plans ensure that everyone working on the project, including all contractors, have the same commitment to environmental protection.

Environmental monitors are working to ensure, on a daily basis, that the plans are being followed. There is also general oversight from our environmental auditors, who conduct regular audits along the route of the line. They evaluate environmental performance and report on the work of the contractor and their environmental monitors. Their audits provide recommendations for any corrective actions needed. It is the contractor’s responsibility to carry out any corrective actions at an appropriate time.

In addition, the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office have compliance officers that conduct regular audits of the project. If a stakeholder is not satisfied with B.C. Hydro’s environmental management process, the individual or group can contact the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Operations’ compliance officer assigned to the specific section of the project to discuss their concerns.

Protecting the environment is a top priority, but so is listening and responding to community concerns. We work directly with stakeholders and local governments to ensure their questions are answered.

B.C. Hydro is confident that the contractors for this important project will continue to meet all the commitments and assurances required by the environmental assessment certificate.

Melissa Holland, director major projects,

B.C. Hydro

 

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