What you want to know about pipelines, part 1: First Nations consultation

This blog is meant to be your source for balanced information about transmission pipelines, so we need to understand what you really want to know. Last year, we turned to Canadians on Facebook and asked for their hardest pipeline questions. We got a great response, and the resulting Pipelines Exposed series has proven to be a popular source of information for our readers.

Pipeline Exposed_reclamation part 2_V2We recently repeated the exercise, asking you specifically for questions about how land is repaired and reclaimed after pipeline construction.

We got quite a few questions on the role of First Nations in reclamation, so we turned to Patrick Smyth, CEPA’s vice president of safety and engineering, for answers.

Q: How are First Nations involved in a company’s reclamation plans when a pipeline crosses their land?

Patrick: Pipeline companies start working with First Nations (PDF) along and adjacent to a proposed right-of-way from the time a project is contemplated, and continue to do so through the entire lifecycle of that project. First Nations representatives work with environmental specialists from the industry to identify those areas and plants that hold cultural significance for them, and they help determine how to ensure the pipeline has the least impact on communities and the environment.

Q: Do you incorporate Indigenous knowledge in your reclamation work?

Patrick: First Nations representatives will typically be involved as plants are harvested (before excavation commences), new plants are cultivated (sometimes in greenhouses erected for this very purpose), and as those plants are placed along the new right-of-way. Often, local First Nations will monitor the growth of these plants for the years following completion of construction.

Q: Does consultation with First Nations people involve land outside the reserves?

Patrick: First Nations peoples will often have culturally significant areas that extend beyond their reserve lands – this is a result of the historical nomadic nature of First Nations. Pipeline companies take this into consideration as they develop plans for a new pipeline.

Stay tuned for more posts answering your pipeline reclamation questions. In the meantime, if you have questions of your own, please feel free to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. We’d love to add your questions to the list.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 119,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2015, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.