Bowen Island Undercurrent letter: Protection for Fisheries and Oceans

Letter to the Editor, Bowen Island Undercurrent: October 20 2015

While trust for the BC Government couldn’t get any lower after last week’s uncovering of a culture of deleting emails and ignoring Freedom of Information requests, we learned this week that BC Minister Polak has granted Woodfibre LNG an environmental certificate for the building of a methane gas processing facility and LNG export plant. We will call on the new Federal Minister of Environment to not sign off on this certificate.

Although we were expecting the BC Government to say yes to this project, not surprising when it turned itself literally into a LNG Government, it is hard to see to what length this Government is willing to go, to push its natural gas agenda ahead.

The BC Government in its decision:

-Ignored the fact that Canada does not have LNG safety standards and is unwilling to wait for the Federal Ministry of Environment to do the work and create these,

-Ignored the range of environmental problems caused by Fracking, of which new ones seem to by found weekly. This week it’s heavy metal containing mud slides, the week before then, the increase in miscarried pregnancies in areas where fracking is done.

-Perpetuated the lie that LNG would help fight green house gasses, when it leads to delays in more expansive renewable energy investments,

-Made deals in the worst possible time to do so, leaving little doubt that BC will not financially benefit from LNG exports what so ever.

It has been disheartening to see Federal Fisheries and Oceans willing to go against its own guidelines regarding Herring Spawning, which has been abundant around the Woodfibre for at least the last 5 years. It ignores its own requirement to have seawater intake 2 or more kilometers away from Herring spawning sites. The proposed seawater intake and outfall would be 50 meters away from the spawning. It also seems ‘blissfully’ ignorant about the fact that in the US, new facilities have to use close loop cooling systems instead of the Once Through Cooling system proposed by Woodfibre LNG and now given the green light by the BC Government.

We have heard many times during the Federal election campaign from candidates, many who have won seats in Parliament, that the environmental assessment process in BC is broken and action needs to be taken to make it credible again. This has been our experience too. The Environmental Assessment office seems little more than a courier service, sending information back and forth between proponents and opponents.

We will call on the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans too, to stop the use of Once Through Cooling intakes and step up rebuilding forage species like Herring and makes sure its data regarding Herring Spawning is representative of the actual reality. Not an unreasonable ask, when we know the oceans are in trouble and need nurseries like Howe Sound.

This fight for the protection of Howe Sound is far from over, and only now beginning for real.

On behalf of Concerned Citizens Bowen.
Anton van Walraven

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