CPAWS disappointed with decision to approve pipeline through protected area
HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is disappointed with the decision by the Nova Scotia government to give environmental approvals for the construction of a natural gas pipeline near Stewiacke that will pass through a candidate protected area.
“Pipelines do not belong in protected areas,” says Jennifer Smith, Outreach Coordinator for CPAWS-Nova Scotia. “We are disappointed that the government did not require the pipeline to avoid the protected area altogether.”
The proposed Stewiacke River Wilderness Area contains habitat for wood turtle and Atlantic salmon with rich floodplains and old growth eastern hemlock and red oak. The adjacent proposed St. Andrews River Wilderness Area provides water for the Town of Stewiacke and contains rare plants including the black ash.
Both the “original” and “alternative” routes penetrate the Stewiacke River Wilderness Area. The original routing was the one that was approved, which bisects the proposed protected area rather than crossing the corner.
“Because pipelines are not allowed in protected wilderness areas, the provincial government now must essentially gerrymander the protected area boundary around the pipeline corridor to accommodate the pipeline,” says Smith. “This likely means redrawing the boundary to create a corridor through the middle of the protected area. We think that sets a terrible precedent for parks and protected areas in Nova Scotia.”
The Stewiacke River Wilderness Area was acquired by the Nova Scotia government for conservation from Neenah Paper back in 2010. It has been identified as a candidate protected area as part of the government’s plans to protect at least 12% of Nova Scotia’s landmass by the year 2015.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Nova Scotia Chapter