Access to land for facilities and pipeline rights of way is a key business priority for us, and we recognize that certain areas across North America have particular biological or cultural sensitivity. We take great care to consult with stakeholders and limit the impact of our facilities and pipelines on these areas. We also support conservation and biodiversity efforts in the larger community.
We are thorough and thoughtful in our project management approach to protecting sensitive areas. Our considerations include:
- Before proposing pipeline routes and facility locations, we conduct risk assessments to identify sensitive areas and biodiversity issues, including protected species and habitats.
- We avoid environmentally or culturally sensitive areas where practical and where alternative routes are available.
- We mitigate our impact by restoring pipeline rights of way and implementing the recommendations of environmental and social impact assessments and permitting agencies.
Where rerouting is not feasible, we take measures to minimize disruption of sensitive land features and habitats. During construction of the Southeast Supply Header pipeline in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, for example, we used advanced drilling technology to route the pipeline beneath 30 sensitive water bodies, greatly reducing the habitat impact both during construction and for the life of the pipeline.
During a construction project in the Southeast US, we brought in specialized biologists qualified to locate and move protected gopher tortoises. We followed similar protocols to protect box turtles during a project in the Northeast, US near Cape Cod, MA.
Once pipelines are in place in sensitive areas, we work to maintain the right of way in a manner that balances safety requirements and environmental sensitivity. In Massachusetts, we developed a formal right of way maintenance plan that encompassed vegetation and mowing practices before the state decided to require such plans. We are now expanding this process across the U.S. based Spectra Energy system.
We also support biodiversity conservation efforts by providing financial support to organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP). We also serve on the CWRP board of directors.