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The Environmental Managers Association of BC held their annual Workshop on February 20, 2014, bringing together members and guests for a full day of networking and discussion around the theme of “Balancing the Business & Environmental Risks of BC’s Hydrocarbon Industry”.
Amidst the ongoing and increasingly polarized discussion in BC around our growing hydrocarbon industries, this timely event provided attendees with an opportunity to hear from major project proponents, regulators, and First Nations, with an aim to better understand the risks, and the role environmental professionals play in managing and mitigating those risks. The program spanned the life of hydrocarbon development, from exploration to transport, cleanup, and carbon offsetting.
Jim Standen, Assistant Deputy Minister opened the meeting by providing the BC Ministry of Environment perspective on the evolution of the provincial regulatory environment as it relates to waste management and pollution prevention.
This led into the Aboriginal Engagement & Resource Development panel discussion where Bob Joseph, the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., and President Bruce Dumont and Director of Education Colleen Hodgson for Metis Nation BC provided insight on how First Nations view resource development. They explained that every community is different, which is why early engagement is vital. They further discussed pitfalls around language, such as the difference between engagement and consultation, and provided some guidance for bridging inevitable cultural gaps and building partnerships that benefit all involved.
The remainder of the morning was dedicated to discussion of two high-profile major projects in BC: the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. Graham Knox, Director, Environmental Emergency Program at BC Ministry of Environment provided an update on the progress towards establishing a world leading spill preparedness and response regime for land based spills, as expressed in BC’s five conditions necessary for support of heavy oil projects.
Jason Smith, Vice President of Consulting Services at TERA Environmental Consultants provided a look back at the recent upgrade of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline through Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park, and a look forward at the planned expansion and related upgrades of BC’s only operating trans-provincial oil pipeline. This was followed by a review of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project, presented by Stantec’s Jeff Green, Vice President Quality Management Environmental Services Canada, who is working as Technical Director for that project.
The afternoon included a panel discussion on the upstream oil & gas industry in BC, and the need to balance economic development with environmental integrity. The panel was hosted by Daniel Gorsic, CEO, Director at SynergyAspen Environmental Strategies Inc. The panel members were Geoff Morrison, Manager British Columbia Operations at The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Devin Scheck, Director, Environmental Management & Reclamation at the BC Oil & Gas Commission, and Lavinia Zanini, Senior Contaminated Sites Officer at the BC Ministry of Environment.
Two technical presentations followed: a new approach to sustainable remediation practices at upstream gas well sites, presented by Worley Parsons and a look at some of the environmental challenges related to operating a large coal export terminal at Roberts Bank, presented by David Crook of Westshore Terminals.
The final panel of the day covered the other end of the hydrocarbon industry in contemplating the future of greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting in BC. The panel was hosted by Scott Gramm, Manager, Renewable Energy at FortisBC, and included three regulatory experts on greenhouse gas policy: Roger Quan, Director of Air Quality and Environment at Metro Vancouver; Phil Cull, Vice President, Sourcing at Offsetters; and Tim Lesiuk, Executive Director, Business Development and Chief Negotiator at Climate Action Secretariat, Province of BC.
Workshop participants engaged in a full day of learning, networking, and sharing experiences and challenges around this quickly-evolving industry. The EMA of BC is proud of its unique ability to bring together regulators, stakeholders, industry leaders, and professionals engaged in engineering, geosciences, biology, and environmental law to expand everyone’s understanding of the breadth of environmental practice in BC.
The EMA of BC Workshop would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of our 2014 partners: FortisBC, SynergyAspen Environmental, AGAT Labs, Borden Ladner Gervais, and ERIS – Environmental Risk Information Service.