Federal government gives approval for Northwest Transmission Line

  • May. 6, 2011 10:00 a.m.

The Federal Government gave its nod of approval to the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) today.

The project, proposed by BC Hydro, would connect the Terrace substation to a newly construction station at Bob Quinn, effectively opening the Highway 37 corridor for mining companies.

The project, they conclude, “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

“This decision means that we can move ahead with the NTL,” Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy Mines said. “Families in B.C.’s northwest can benefit from the over 10,000 jobs and $15 billion investment. NTL is an important part of our long-term vision for clean, low-cost energy for all British Columbians no matter where they live.”

They do have a list they’re required to address, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency release states, but if these are met the authorities may move forward with the project. Some of these mitigation measures include addressing wildlife and their habitat, addressing the current use of land and resources by First Nation’s, human health and safety, air quality, climate change, water quality and water quantity.

At this time a follow-up was not considered.

The news follows the B.C. Environmental Assessment’s decision to award them their environmental assessment certificate on Feb. 24 of this year and was welcome news for Northwest Transmission Line Co-chair and President of the Tahltan Business Council Gordon Loverin. The council acts for business interests for their region, sort of like a Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m very happy that they have, that both levels of government have approved the line and at some point construction will begin which can only be good for the northwest,” Lovering said.

For the Tahltan, this will provide them to get involved with the development, not just with the construction of the NTL but with the associated projects, such as the AltaGas run-of-river project or the Red Chris Mine, both of whom have cited this transmission line as critical for their feasibility.

Those projects, Loverin said, “create a heck of a lot of jobs in a region that could use it,” jobs he hopes the Tahltan will benefit from for a long time.

According to their website, the approval would fall within BC Hydro’s projected schedule that foresees the construction completed in fall of 2013 should all permits be in place. The facility would be operational by December 2013, with restoration and clean up beginning in the spring of 2014.