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10,000 comments submitted on Pacific NorthWest LNG project, federal decision could come on March 22


When Petronas threatened to walk away from the Pacific NorthWest LNG project this week, the Council of Canadians began circulating this meme on social media.

Today is the deadline to comment on the proposed Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility would be located on Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) near Prince Rupert on Lax Kw’alaams First Nation territory in British Columbia. The project is being led by the Malaysian state-owned company Petronas, with minority shareholders including Sinopec, the Indian Oil Corporation, and PetroleumBrunei. It would receive natural gas fracked in northeastern BC via TransCanada’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project pipeline. Its upstream carbon dioxide emissions would be about 6.5 to 8.7 million tonnes a year and it would require a massive amount of freshwater to operate.

On March 9, the Globe and Mail reported, “Starting Feb. 10, the regulatory agency asked for feedback from the public and aboriginal groups. The number of comments submitted has skyrocketed to more than 10,000 since then. The 30-day comment period ends on Friday [March 11].” The Council of Canadians has been encouraging comments against this project via this action alert that highlights the Trudeau government should reject the Pacific Northwest LNG, prioritize Indigenous relations, protect the salmon-fishing economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On Feb. 10, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) released a 257-page draft report that concluded that the Pacific Northwest LNG project would likely contribute to climate change (specifically that it would be “high in magnitude, continuous, irreversible and global in extent”), and that it would harm harbour porpoises, but also stated, “With respect to all other valued components, the agency concludes that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects taking into account the implementation of the key mitigation measures”.

Earlier this week, more than 130 scientists questioned the science behind that draft report. CBC reports, “In a letter to the federal government, the scientists raise five areas of concern with the ‘scientifically flawed’ draft report, and ask the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to reject it. A key concern is the effects the LNG export facility would have on the biology of the large estuary at the mouth of the Skeena River, which is one B.C.’s largest salmon bearing rivers.” Charmaine Carr-Harris of the Skeena Fisheries Commission says, “You couldn’t find a worse location to develop in terms of risks to fish.”

The Council of Canadians has repeatedly supported opposition from the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation to the building of this terminal on their territory.

In Nov. 2015, we signed on to an open letter written by Lax Kw’alaams Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and McKenna to reject the terminal proposed for Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) and Flora Bank, and to cancel ongoing test-drilling at the site. In his letter Chief Yahaan wrote, “We ask that you respect the decision of our nation to say no to this project. We ask that you work with First Nations to find projects that are truly responsible and sustainable, and that do not threaten the very resources and landscapes that define us all.”

To read Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape’s first-hand account of her Nov. 2015 visit with Chief Yahaan at a camp on Lax U’u’la established to oppose the LNG terminal, please click here.

Today, the Council of Canadians submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency its letter of opposition to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

Earlier this week, the National Post reported that Petronas had threatened to walk away from the project if the Trudeau government didn’t make a decision on it by March 31. The Globe and Mail notes, “Environment Canada is not commenting on whether it will meet the March 22 regulatory deadline for making a decision on the LNG facility.”

To send in your comments by end of day today, please go to our action alert here.

Further reading
Phone blitz to protect wild salmon and Lelu Island from Petronas LNG! (Feb. 5, 2016)
Council backs Lax Kw’alaams Hereditary Chief’s letter to prime minister opposing LNG project (Nov. 9, 2015)
Council of Canadians co-hosts protest against Pacific Northwest LNG project (Oct. 15, 2015)
Victoria chapter at noise demo against Pacific Northwest LNG terminal (Oct. 2, 2015)
Council of Canadians opposes LNG agenda in British Columbia (Nov. 25, 2014)
DePape speaks against Petronas LNG project outside their office in Vancouver (Oct. 20, 2014)
Council calls on Petronas to stop its Pacific Northwest LNG project (Sept. 25, 2014)