Press release, October 21 2016 – Concerned Citizens Bowen and My Sea to Sky
On Thursday evening, October 20, 2016, West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy told a member of Concerned Citizens Bowen of a significant change in design for the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility near Squamish, BC. The change is a switch from a Once Through Cooling system to Air Cooling.
This change is most welcome, as it addresses the very serious concerns expressed by the Squamish Nation, the District of Squamish, Concerned Citizens Bowen, Future of Howe Sound and My Sea To Sky about the damage its former Once Through Cooling system would do to the marine life in Howe Sound. Its water intakes and hot, chlorinated outfall would have been in the middle of an important herring spawn area in Northern Howe Sound. Herring are a vital prey species whose growing numbers have assisted the recent return of salmon, dolphins, orcas and whales to the Sound.
We applaud the Squamish Nation for pursuing this matter and following through on their condition that Woodfibre LNG needed to demonstrate that Once Through Cooling would not harm the herring and other aquatic organisms. We conclude that such a case cannot be made.
We also want to congratulate Woodfibre LNG for making this change – though our several other concerns about the project remain.
The change in design of the cooling system means that major components of the LNG facility need to be redesigned, as Woodfibre LNG has stated during the Environmental Assessment (EA) process. That deeply-flawed process, conducted by the BC Environment Ministry, largely ignored this issue and belittled our concerns. Thankfully , the Howe Sound protectors of the Squamish Nation and members of different groups (especially John Buchanan, Anton van Walraven and Thomas Rafael) persevered.
During that same EA process Alex Brigden, then Project Manager for Woodfibre LNG, went on record stating that the design of the entire plant is based on this cooling system, if changed Woodfibre LNG would have to restart the Environmental Assessment process. We are in contact with the Environmental Assessment Office about this.