LNG decision delayed three months

A final decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal has been delayed by three months.

 

A final decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal has been delayed by three months.

Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was expected to receive a final report about the proposal on Tuesday, but McKenna granted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency a three-month extension.

CEAA asked for more time after receiving 34,000 public comments on its February draft report, along with newly submitted documents from Petronas regarding the project’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

Petronas, a Malaysian state firm, proposes to build a $36-billion export terminal for liquefied natural gas on Lelu Island, which stands at the north end of the Skeena River estuary, south of Prince Rupert.

The Haida Nation passed a resolution in November opposing LNG tankers, which would eventually make near-daily calls to the Pacific NorthWest facility, or 350 per year.

Speaking before the three-month extension was announced, local Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP and NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen said he has questioned the location of Pacific NorthWest from the very start.

“When I remain in support of LNG broadly, this specific project has raised concerns for years,” said Cullen, who supported the Alta Gas LNG and LNG Canada projects in Kitimat, but believes that if built on Lelu Island, Pacific NorthWest poses too much risk to nearby eelgrass beds on Flora Bank that provide habitat for juvenile salmon and other fish.

Cullen has offered to broker an expedited move to another site, an idea he laid out in a recent letter to Petronas, the Canadian government, and to First Nations affected by the proposal.

“I believe, if the right conversations were to happen, the project could go ahead in a much less controversial, and a much less dangerous site,” he said, noting that Royal Dutch Shell may have an already developed a site available on Ridley Island.

In a draft report, the CEAA concluded the project would not pose a significant risk to fish habitat, once mitigation measures are taken into account. But the agency did highlight the significant impact its lights and noise could have on nearby harbour porpoises.

“I just don’t run into a lot of people who are raising concerns about other species,” said Cullen, referring to the porpoise issue.

“It’s somewhat of a distraction.”

In the draft report, the CEAA also concluded that Pacific NorthWest LNG would have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

If built, the gas-powered facility could become Canada’s third-largest source of GHG emissions — only the Syncrude oil-sands mine and upgrader near Fort McMurray and the Sundance coal plant west of Edmonton would emit more.

“I don’t know if that’s the leading concern with the project,” said Cullen, noting that Pacific NorthWest could greatly reduce its emissions if it ran off B.C.’s main power grid, rather than its own gas-fired plant.

Cullen said he hears far more concern from First Nations leaders and local biologists about the project’s potential impact on salmon habitat by Lelu Island.

Nearly three years in, Cullen still hopes an “off ramp” can be found to move Pacific NorthWest LNG to another site.

“Location matters in business, and salmon matters in the northwest,” he said.

 

Just Posted

QC food bank needs cash

Feed the People program shuts down for month of May

Repen: FOI data proves Telkwans being ripped off by ICBC

Former Telkwa mayor received a response from ICBC and says the results don’t look good for residents

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

Update: Court proceeding for man charged in fatal church shooting adjourned unil May

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Most Read