Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline technical hearings (June 7-12, 1982) : Final report of the Environmental Assessment Panel = Pipe-line de la route de l'Alaska, audiences techniques (7-12 juin 1982) : Rapport final de la Commission d'évaluation environnementale
Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Project Environmental Assessment Panel
Hull, Québec : Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office, 1982.
28, 28 p. : figures, map ; 28 cm.
(Report of the Environmental Assessment Panel, 21)
ASTIS record 11227.
Languages: English and French
The Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Environmental Assessment Panel has reviewed the technical submissions of Foothills Pipe Lines (South Yukon) Limited to plan, construct and operate a large-diameter, buried, gas transmission pipeline and ancillary structures in southern Yukon. The pipeline would be part of a larger system carrying natural gas from Alaska to the lower 48 states. The proposed route in Yukon is 818 km long, reaching from Beaver Creek in the west to Watson Lake in the east. On May 30, 1982 the project sponsors announced a two-year delay in the project with operations scheduled to begin in late 1989. Foothills provided technical documents in March, 1982 as addenda to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which was reviewed in 1979. This information was transmitted through the Northern Pipeline Agency and served as the body of information for the Panel's review of the project. The Panel received written briefs on the Foothills
submissions from the public and from technical reviewers. In June, 1982 the Panel held technical hearings at Whitehorse, Yukon and thereby received further information and comment. After careful review the Panel arrived at its conclusions and made several recommendations which are given in this report. The Panel has concluded that the preliminary environmental planning on the project is adequate. Foothills, the Northern Pipeline Agency and government review agencies now have a good grasp of the main physical and biological problems and the options for solutions to those problems. However, there are several recommendations aimed at mitigation of potential negative impacts. In general, the geotechnical difficulties associated with frost heave and thaw settlement are better understood than at the time of the 1979 review and design options have been developed which may overcome the problems. This applies to hydrology and revegetation issues as well.
There remain a number of unresolved difficulties which will require full attention by Foothills and the Northern Pipeline Agency. On the three remaining pipeline route alternative questions, the Panel agrees with Foothills preferred solutions. The problems which do exist are solvable given good engineering practice and diligence in environmental impact mitigation during construction. A fourth routing question, the Ibex/Whitehorse route, was reviewed in the spring of 1981 and was the subject of a panel report issued in August, 1981. Fisheries and wildlife resource values can be protected following measures recommended by Foothills and government review agencies, including scheduling of construction operations and the use of appropriate construction techniques. The potential detrimental effects of the location of pipeline facilities (compressors, construction camps, storage yards, and borrow pits) can be mitigated with sufficient lead time for
planning. Problems of handling fuels and hazardous materials and the disposal of project wastes can be solved with proper foresight and good planning. Other issues are noise impacts, aesthetic considerations, and the avoidance of disturbance to campground and recreation areas, for which Foothills has shown an adequate understanding to achieve the necessary impact mitigation. The Panel is confident that good planning and regulation will form the basis for environmentally acceptable construction measures and pipeline operation.