WLNG – serious environmental concerns

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 laws. This BC Business Magazine article provides an excellent insight into the broken world of BC’s environmental assessment process

There is a range of serious environmental concerns with the Woodfibre LNG project:

Climate change is happening right now: we must seriously cut greenhouse gas emissions
The building of Woodfibre LNG is an investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, at a time we need to heavily invest in renewable energy. The BC Government is promoting LNG as a ‘bridge fuel’ between oil, gas and coal, and renewable energy. Due to the long pay back time of the LNG projects, 25 to 40 years, this ‘bridge fuel’ strategy will lead to a delay in renewable energy investments.

Woodfibre LNG plans to process and export fracked gas
With BC’s conventional natural gas [Methane] supplies shrinking, at the end of 2014 already 75% of BC’s natural gas production was extracted with Hydraulic Fracking. Source Natural Resources Canada

Hydraulic Fracking has a host of environmental issues which are explained in detail on our page BC LNG and Hydraulic Fracking

Woodfibre LNG is to be build the plant in the middle of Herring spawn central
Woodfibre LNG knew herring spawn was present at the Woodfibre site, but designed a strategy of misrepresenting information to get what it wanted: -a cooling system that is know to be very damaging to marine life. The intake of this ‘Once Through Cooling system’ will be right in the middle of a historic Herring spawn area. None of the Government agencies did anything to stop the proposal. Continue reading

Terminal mall function or LNG tanker accidents assessed with outdated standards
The impact of a mall-function at the facility or an accident with a LNG tanker can lead to a breach of the tanker and floating storage ‘tankers’ with potentially catastrophic consequences. The subsequent ignition of a methane cloud could set dry forest ablaze and destroy communities.

The only safety assessment process in Canada that deals with LNG tankers is the TERMPOL review process, done by transport Canada. Transport Canada’s worst case scenario is a factor 3 smaller than being used in the USA, and a factor 5 smaller than Woodfibre LNG’s worst case scenario. Read the details on webpage LNG Tanker safety regulations

The updated 2014 TERMPOL review process is not used because Woodfibre LNG applied for the TERMPOL review before it was published. Therefor Transport Canada uses its outdated 2001 review process to assess the navigational risks of the LNG super tankers coming into Howe Sound.

Upstream green house gas emissions estimate seriously flawed
Upstream green house gas emissions are the green houses gasses released during the processes of extracting, transporting and processing natural gas before it arrives at the Woodfibre LNG processing plant. The impact of upstream green house gas emissions was limited to CO2 only and ignored the impact of fugitive methane leaks, like from fracking wells and during transport.

Flaring off excess methane
Excess methane from the floating storage tankers and facility will be flared on the site.

Global environmental concerns

Electricity use
The liquefying process demands large amounts of electricity to process the natural gas(methane) into LNG for the purpose of transportation overseas. That electricity can be better used for other purposes than liquifying gas. Why do we need to use our clean electricity to market a fossil fuel that will emit CO2 when burned?

Green house gas emission down stream from project
The environmental assessment is limited in scope, that it only reviews the application itself. In the case of the Woodfibre LNG proposal, the environmental impacts of natural gas (methane) fracking, the methane leaks that occur throughout the extraction and transportation process and the eventual burning of the natural gas exported are not considered in the assessment. The BC Government is being urged to make this part of the assessments.

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