Pipeline company calls challenger “vexatious”

Smithers resident Michael Sawyer out to “frustrate” liquefied natural gas industry

TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink says Smithers resident Michael Sawyer is only out to frustrate the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in B.C.

The company was responding to news that Sawyer filed an application to the National Energy Board (NEB) to ultimately have it conduct an environmental review of a natural gas pipeline project that already has the blessing of the provincial government.

“This ulterior motive renders the application vexatious and an abuse of process,” TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink stated in a detailed brief to the NEB asking it to deny Sawyer’s application.

Sawyer filed his application to the NEB at the end of July, sparking a fierce backlash by LNG supporters in the region awaiting word any day now that LNG Canada will announce its decision to build a $40 billion facility in Kitimat to super-cool natural gas for export to Asia.

The 675km Coastal GasLink pipeline would ship natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat but Sawyer’s critics say his application and the prospect of a federal environmental review would unnecessarily delay LNG Canada’s plans.

Coastal GasLink queried Sawyer’s application timing, saying he’s been aware for at least four years of the issues he raised in his application.

The company also said Sawyer is wrong in his contention that while its planned pipeline comes under provincial jurisdiction, it would be connected to the existing TransCanada-owned NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. pipeline system that’s federally-regulated, meaning it should then properly also come under federal regulation.

“There is no current proposal to physically connect the [Coastal GasLink] project to a federal work and undertaking, and if the project were to connect to the NGTL System in the future, the two systems would serve different functions,” stated Coastal GasLink.

The TransCanada subsidiary also challenged Sawyer’s position that the public interest would be served by a federal review, arguing that “…. the pipeline has already been subject to extensive regulatory review by provincial authorities ….”

Coastal GasLink focused on previous public statements made by Sawyer that provincial authorities failed to consider the cumulative impacts of natural gas development.

“These are not questions of jurisdiction, or of who regulates the pipeline,” it stated.

“The timing and true purpose of the application demonstrates that Mr. Sawyer has not come to the [NEB] with clean hands. He has waited for four years until the eve of a potential final investment decision for the LNG Canada project as a tactic to frustrate upstream natural gas production.”

“Entertaining the application would condone Mr. Sawyer’s actions and encourage similar bad behaviour in the future. Rewarding strategic litigation launched for an ulterior purpose is not in the public interest,” Coastal GasLink continued.

Sawyer has until Sept. 7 to reply to Coastal GasLink’s comments.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

A housing location for workers on the new Mills Memorial Hospital construction project has been approved by city council. (File photo)
Camp spot proposed for hospital construction workers

As many as 350 outside workers may be needed

Terrace city council are reaching out to the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson regarding councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller’s resignation on Feb. 22, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
City of Terrace seeking ombudsperson investigation into allegations of systemic racism

Councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller resigned Feb. 22, citing racism

A large provincial grant will make cycling and walking safer in Terrace. (File photo)
Large grant to make walking, cycling safer in Terrace

Pathway will connect old Skeena Bridge to the downtown

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read