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article imagePacific NorthWest LNG project will be a massive 'carbon bomb'

By Karen Graham     Sep 28, 2016 in Environment
Vancouver - One day after the Royals, William and Kate, visited the Great Bear Rainforest in B.C., the Trudeau government gave its approval for the construction of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in northern British Columbia.
The controversial liquid natural gas project proposed for the port of Prince Rupert along the coast of the province was given conditional approval said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna in an announcement in Richmond, B.C., reports CTV News.
McKenna cited “a rigorous environmental assessment” that also included “interim guidelines” added in January. The fact that the facility, backed by Malaysian energy giant Petronas, sits above one of Canada's most prolific salmon-bearing habitats apparently didn't count in the end, though.
The proposal would have the natural gas moved by pipeline from the province's northeast to a terminal on the coast where it would be shipped overseas to Asian markets. McKenna said there are 190 legally-binding conditions required for the project, which is “based on the best available science and on indigenous traditional knowledge.”
The proposal also includes “for the first time ever, a maximum cap on greenhouse gas emissions," said McKenna. “The only way to get resources to market in the twenty-first century is if it can be done sustainably and responsibly."
B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who pushed for the 900-kilometer pipeline and LNG terminal, thanked the federal ministers, saying "all Canadians" will benefit from the project. She was profuse in remarking how "thousands of jobs will be created for families, working people and more importantly, First Nations people."
And speaking of those "thousands of jobs," actually, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the “substantial benefits” to the province would include “up to 330 direct long-term jobs, 300 local spinoff jobs, and 4,500 construction jobs.” Of course, once construction is finished, those jobs would disappear.
As for carbon emissions, she said the project would use electricity in its extraction methods. “British Columbia is proud to be the climate leader in North America,” she said. “We have the first, the highest and the most comprehensive carbon tax on pollution on the continent and we are very encouraged to have a federal partner.”
Needless to say, not everyone is thrilled about the LNG terminal, and this is especially true of environmental groups and First Nations people.
“This represents yet another blatant betrayal of the promises and commitments to the Aboriginal Peoples of this country,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told Ricochet by email.
Ricochet also cited an internal report that was leaked to the press last year that documented some very serious issues with Petronas' environmental and safety record. B.C. NDP opposition leader John Horgan is said to have described the report’s contents as “jaw-dropping.”
Marc Lee, the lead economist of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, calls the project a "carbon bomb" that is totally out of step with Canada's climate goals. But all in all, the LNG project may not go off as hoped. Clark also remarked that the project depends on whether the price of natural gas goes up. If it remains low, no project.
More about lng terminal, greenhouse gasses cap, First nations, Betrayal, British columbia