Woodfibre LNG proposed condition changes

save the sea lions!

Update August 2023
Federal agency recommends Minister to change conditions. See report in the Squamish Chief newspaper.

For Concerned Citizens Bowen it is about when we are asked by our elected officials to trust an approval because of conditions, those conditions not to be changed after the fact. This only leads to erosion of trust in our institutions, in environmental assessment processes, in our democratic and political systems.

Concerned Citizens Bowen firmly disagrees with the recommendations of the Federal review agency.
See our letter in the Bowen Island Undercurrent.

Thank you for your submissions!

So many of you took the time to submit their comments about the proposed changes. We didn’t see any submission in support of the changes.

The public input period closed on Monday Jan 30, 2023. We are keeping the links up for review of submitted comments. My Sea to Sky will continue to collect comments:

We have highlighted a few:

To learn more about the proposed changes, continue reading.

The proposed changes can be found in the Draft Analysis by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

Proposed condition changes summarized

Fish and fish habitat – Condition 3.8

Woodfibre LNG wants a 99% reduction of the underwater noise safety precautions for sea-lions and seals, from 7,233 meters to 125 meters from the noise source.

  • The methods used to calculate the boundaries were developed by the US Nations Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Washington State Department of Transportation. For the review the Canada’s Impact Assessment Agency contacted neither of them.
  • What signal does it send to if we were to allow such reductions to safety precautions in Biosphere Reserve.
  • The science on underwater noise and the (cumulative) effects on marine life is rapidly evolving.
  • The federal government is to publish its Canada’s Ocean Noise Strategy in the next few months.

Human health or aquatic health- Condition 6.4

Woodfibre LNG also wants a condition for fresh and marine water quality monitoring and mitigation during construction rewritten to only include human health, not the protection of aquatic life. Staff of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change have opposed this idea in their submission tot the IAAC. Futhermore, Woodfibre LNG suggests that it cannot be held accountable for contaminants that are not the result of its project. The issue here is that during the baseline studies for the project, it was found that contamination already exceeded the Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life and Interim Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life.
Woodfibre LNG has a point there, but not the point it thinks it has. What its own baseline research shows is, that the contamination caused by decades of industries spilling their toxic effluents into Howe Sound, is present today. Of course Woodfibre LNG cannot be held accountable for that legacy contamination, but – since the baseline studies were already done in 2013 – the Federal Government should have halted the project then, based on the circumstance that building and operating the project would only add to the existing contamination, adding another hurdle for Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound to recover. It didn’t and there is were it failed to protect aquatic and human health.

Previous post for back ground information and our position

Today, we find ourselves in a situation, when we were asked in 2016 to trust the approval of the project because of legally binding conditions, to submit our input about changing some of those conditions. Woodfibre LNG wants to change conditions that are an integral part of the Federal approval of the project. The approval and conditions date back to 2016 (Was reissued in 2018 to reflect the changes in type of cooling system).

Since 2018, the 2012 environmental review Act was replaced with a new environmental review Act in 2019. Because of that new Act, conditions can now be added, changed or removed, something the 2012 Act didn’t accommodate for. And conveniently, approvals under the 2012 Act are now “deemed to be” approvals under the 2019 Act.

As Concerned Citizens Bowen, we stand on the position, that when the public is asked to trust an approval because of conditions, those conditions will not be changed after the fact. This is exactly what we understood it to be on March 18, 2016, the day the federal Decision Statement for this project was issued.

The EAAC press release on March 18, 2016:
“In her Environmental Assessment Decision Statement, the Minister established legally binding conditions, which include mitigation measures and follow-up requirements with which the proponent must comply throughout the life of the project.

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