Rules to protect caribou from energy industry ignored, leaked audit suggests
A Woodland caribou is shown in a British Columbia government handout photo. (Government of British Columbia)
VICTORIA - A leaked audit of oil and gas practices in northeastern British Columbia suggests rules to reduce the impact of industry on caribou habitat are being routinely ignored.
Ben Parfitt, an energy policy researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who was leaked the information, notes the breaches are occurring as the B.C. government opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline proposal on environmental grounds.
The 2014 audit of wells, pipelines and roads in B.C.'s Montney district showed about one-third of well pads were following rules developed by the province's oil and gas commission.
It also found no roads or pipelines it looked at conformed to the requirements.
The audit suggests well pads are commonly much larger than allowed and aren't being cleaned up even on an interim basis.
It says roads and pipelines run side by side, which creates long, straight lines through the forest that can be up to 80 metres wide.
And developments run right up to water bodies with no buffer zones.
Parfitt says such development occurring as the province fights a pipeline from Alberta is, at best, inconsistent.