WLNG – a gas station in Howe Sound

Woodfibre LNG would function as a ‘gas-station’ where third party LNG transporters can load up their LNG super tankers for export to Asia. Woodfibre LNG is proposing to build a Methane processing and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exporting exporting facility in upper Howe Sound, just 7 km west of Squamish on the old Woodfibre site.

What is Liquid Natural Gas?
Natural gas is a gas mixture of primarily Methane. In BC, Methane is now mostly extracted by hydraulic fracking. What fracking is and read the list of very serious environmental problems associated with fracking, see our Fracking page.

What’s in a name
Woodfibre LNG does not mean ‘woodfibre gas’. LNG is the abbreviation of Liquid Natural Gas and
Woodfibre LNG is an affiliate of Singapore based Woodfibre LNG Export Pte. Ltd, a company owned by billionaire Sukanto Tanoto.

Environmental Assessments in BC and Canada
The environmental impact of the Woodfibre LNG proposal was assessed by the and the Squamish Nation and the BC Environmental Assessment Office (AEO) in two separate processes.

The Squamish Nation independent Environmental Review
The Woodfibre LNG project lays within the Squamish Nation unceded territory. Therefor, the Squamish Nation decided to enter into an independent environmental review of the project, based on the Nation’s stewardship principles and cultural values.

Since then, 25 conditions to the project have been identified. The Squamish Nation Council has proclaimed that it has no intention of approving the project —unless the 25 stringent conditions are met.
Squamish Nation | Woodfibre LNG | Update | Issue 3

Provincial and Federal environmental assessments
In the past, this project would have been assessed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency(CEAA) too, but through the ‘Substitution Decision’ the assessments for LNG projects in BC are now done by the BC government. That could have have been a sensible decision if the recommendations coming from these offices were similar, but history has proven, more than often, they are not.

During the Harper Government federal environmental legislation and the Environmental Assessment process was gutted. It is widely acknowledged that the Environmental Assessment process is broken, as is shown by the new Federal government action to move to ‘restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction’.

In the Speech from the Throne Dec 4 2015 it mentioned:
“And as part of efforts to restore public trust, the Government will introduce new environmental assessment processes.” Speech from the Throne Dec 4 2015

This commitment of the new Federal Government to restore the EA process, it has said, does not apply to projects that were already being assessed.

This would not have been problem if the process was done right, and at the provincial level, it wasn’t.

The BC Environmental Assessment Office, the office that facilitates the assessment, only accepts proponents ‘science’. The process is known as a ‘proponent driven process’ and the proponents ‘science’ might not be as reliable or credible as is being suggested. This article in BC Business zooms into the problems with the current BC environmental assessment process.

Howe Sound Communities are now stuck with the result of broken processes
Woodfibre LNG’s Environmental Assessment certificate is the result of broken Environmental Assessment processes and broken environmental protection.

The proposed Woodfibre LNG facility and the proposed Eagle Mountain – Woodfibre pipeline that would supply Woodfibre LNG with natural gas, are assessed separately by the Environmental Assessment Office, but are part of the same proposal.

Size of the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility

The proposed Woodfibre LNG facility would be sufficiently supplied with natural gas through the existing 10” diameter pipeline coming from the Coquitlam, where it connects to the natural gas pipeline bringing natural gas from fracking operations in North Eastern BC.

Interestingly:

  • the proposal of FortisBC for a gas pipeline to supply Woodfibre LNG would have 5.7 times more capacity than Woodfibre LNG needs,
  • BC Hydro’s assessment for power supply to the woodfibre site is 6 times the amount the proposed Woodfibre LNG needs.

Consequences for tanker traffic
Can we assume that the Woodfibre LNG proposal is only 1/6 the size the company and government want it to be and, overtime we will see an 6 fold expansion? That would mean 24 to 28 LNG tanker return trips per month, instead of 4 to 5.

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