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Spectra challenges $28,000 fine for failing to protect Western Toad habitat

Spectra Energy Transmission faces a $28,000 fine for allegedly failing to protect the habitat of the Western Toad while constructing its Transmission North Expansion project north of Moberly Lake, in the Beryl Prairie area near Butler Ridge Provincia

Spectra Energy Transmission faces a $28,000 fine for allegedly failing to protect the habitat of the Western Toad while constructing its Transmission North Expansion project north of Moberly Lake, in the Beryl Prairie area near Butler Ridge Provincial Park.

According to National Energy Board (NEB) spokesperson Darin Barter, the company stands accused of failing to protect the toad’s habitat in accordance with the project’s application documents.

In a June 3 letter to the NEB, Spectra indicated that it would challenge the fine and has asked the NEB to review the penalty, which was issued on May 5.

"After reviewing this alleged violation, Spectra Energy asked the NEB to conduct a formal review of both the facts and penalty amount relating to this proposed infraction," Jesse Semko, a communications advisor with Spectra, said in an email.

Spectra has declined to offer any further comment while the matter is under review.

The Transmission North Expansion (T-North) began in August 2012 after receiving environmental approval.

It involves the construction of about 24 kilometres of 42-inch pipeline designed to transport sweet natural gas adjacent to the existing Westcoast Fort Nelson Mainline.

“There was a failure [by Spectra], in our assessment, to protect the Western Toad,” Barter told Alaska Highway News. “When they were doing work in that area they didn’t actually protect [the habitat] as they said they were going to do within their original application. Upon inspection we discovered it.”

The project involves the construction of a right-of-way about 22 metres wide. Right-of-way cleanup and reclamation was completed in the summer of 2013.

It is unclear when the alleged violations occurred.

According NEB documents filed January 2014, either environmental inspectors or a wildlife resource specialist were supposed to monitor the open pipeline trench for western toads that may be trapped.

"If Western Toad tadpoles were found in the open pipeline trench, they were to be relocated “if safe and feasible, given the conditions of the trench.”

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