Opposition to Woodfibre LNG: Nimbyism? Or Common Sense?


Originally published Feb 25, 2015 written by the Bowen Island Conservancy

There are many on our island who are very strongly opposed to the proposed LNG plant at Woodfibre (WFLNG), many concerned about public safety and many concerned about the environmental pollution that will occur if this proceeds.
The company and the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) held an open house here on Bowen on January 30.  The EAO is inviting people to provide their comments/concerns on the proposal by MARCH 9, 2015.   Not much time.  Please, if you care about this issue, send in your comments.  The Minister will consider the recommendations from the EAO and will make a decision in July of this year.
So what are the reasons to oppose?  Is it nimbyism?   Definitely not.  Consider the following:
•    These LNG Tankers are some of the biggest ships in the world, the size of aircraft carriers and will be escorted by four seagoing tugs.  The increased tanker traffic (3 to 8 round trips a month, with an estimated increase to 20 to 30 round trips per month, once in full operation) will have a significant effect on the recreational and tourism industry in Howe Sound.  The losses that will occur in the tourism industry will NOT be offset by the economic benefits of an LNG plant, which is estimated to employ a maximum of 100.
•    The mandated exclusion zone that prevents other craft from being in the area when tankers pass through will affect BC ferries schedules and disrupt the lives of residents and visitors alike, as well as affect recreational boat use, including kayaks, sailboats, motor boats, tourism charters.
•    Shoreline swells from the accompanying tugs and one enormous LNG tanker travelling at 8-10 knots will affect neighbouring beaches and boats anchored in the bays.  Remember the fast ferries.
•    Howe Sound has finally been coming back to life after years as being used as a dumping ground for the various industries around the Sound. The introduction of the WFLNG plant will destroy much of the marine life in the surrounding area. The proposed process of liquefaction of the natural gas uses 3.7 million gallons of seawater an hour, heats it up by 10oC, chlorinates it and returns it, with its dead sealife, to the Sound. The EAO must impose conditions to ensure best practices are applied to cool and de-chlorinate this water when returning it to the ocean to minimize the environmental damage.
•    The plant will emit over 142,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, along with many tonnes of Sulphur and Nitrogen oxides (smog).
•    When LNG is stored in the floating storage and offloading units at the plant for any length of time, the LNG heats up and the vapour can ignite.  To prevent this, the gas may be flared off which causes a cloud of CO2 emissions and the consequent air pollution in the immediate area.  The EAO must insist on other technology, available but more expensive, that will minimize or reduce this air pollution.  Similarly, if the tankers are held up at any time, they must release LNG into the air.
•    WFLNG has declined to specify where the tankers will be refueled. If, as is most likely, this occurs while moored at the Woodfibre site, up to 4,000 tonnes (~1 Million gallons) of heavy bunker and diesel oil will be barged up the Sound for each tanker transit.
•    The EAO must refuse to issue a certificate until WFLNG has completed the TERMPOL review, the Minister of Transportation’s recommendations on LNG shipping for Howe Sound.
•    The potential for an accident or collision with a tanker is very small, but catastrophic if it were to happen. The resulting explosion would destroy the human population in the immediate area, which, if it occurred off Bowen, would include many of us. Do we want to endanger our population this way, however remote the possibility?
To read more about WFLNG and opposition to this proposal, visit http://bowenislandconservancy.org/, http://futureofhowesound.org/ or http://myseatosky.org/
Come to a public meeting to hear from Dr. Eoin Finn, PhD Phys. Chem. ,MBA Intl Economics,  at Collins Hall at 7:30 pm on Monday March 9th.  A group of residents on Bowen, “The Concerned Citizens of Bowen” have arranged this meeting.   If you wish more information about this group, call Dai Roberts  604 947 0223.
PLEASE SUBMIT your comments to the EAO before the deadline of March 9.  You may:
1.    Go to the Conservancy’s website http://bowenislandconservancy.org/  click on website page on proposed Woodfibre LNG.  Copy and paste or modify the sample letter for your use and submit it to the EAO at: http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/index.html
Or just write your own with your concerns and submit it to the EAO.
2.    Send to the EAO by FAX: 250 387 0230
3.    Mail to the EAO: PO Box 9426, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC  V8W 9V1
You may wish to copy your letter to the following:
Jordan Sturdy, West Vancouver Sea to Sky MLA: jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca
The Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment: ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Premier Christy Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca
John Weston, MP, West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky: john.weston.c1e@parl.gc.ca
Bowen Island Municipal Council: mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca

– Bowen Island Conservancy

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