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Cowichan Valley chapter holds public forum on LNG industry & Bamberton LNG proposal

The Council of Canadians Cowichan Valley chapter held a public forum on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry on April 26.

Chapter activist Donna Cameron tells us, “We had a successful event. About 70 people turned out, good considering it was the night of the BC political leaders debate on radio and television.”

She notes, “Dr. Eoin Finn spoke of the scientific facts and dangers of having an LNG terminal close to populated areas and narrow ocean channels. Also of great concern to local First Nations people is the danger of the terminal releasing warm chlorinated water into the long, narrow inlet. This could be disastrous for local marine life. Then Ben Parfitt, resource policy analyst for the CCPA, spoke of the reality of job numbers in the LNG industry, how many of the proposed terminals will actually ever go ahead, the fact that LNG is not a clean energy and the vast amounts of water needed and then contaminated.”

Cameron highlights, “We then had local political representatives give their party platform on LNG.”

NDP – Their platform says, “To ensure BC benefits, we will require LNG projects meet four conditions: 1) Projects must offer jobs and training for British Columbians, especially jobs for local people. 2) The people of BC must get a fair return for our resources. 3) Projects must secure full partnerships with local First Nations. 4) Projects must complete a made-in-BC environmental assessment, and achieve the highest environmental standards while respecting our commitments to combating climate change.”

Liberals – Their platform says, “Driving forward, Today’s BC Liberals will: 1) Work with project proponents and upstream gas producers to ensure that additional LNG developments are globally competitive for the next wave of LNG investment. 2) Work towards getting three LNG facilities moving to construction by 2020.”

Greens – Global News reports, “The Greens are adamantly opposed to an LNG industry, which is strongly supported by the B.C. Liberals and conditionally supported by the NDP.” And The Globe and Mail has noted, “The B.C. Green Party criticized the concept of piping natural gas to Saanich Inlet, saying the proposed site is ill-suited for LNG exports.”

Cameron notes, “Following this there were questions from the audience. Most of the discussion centered around the local LNG proposal for Bamberton.”

Steelhead LNG Corp. is proposing the Malahat LNG export terminal on Malahat Nation-owned Bamberton Industrial Lands. The floating liquefaction production facilities would be moored to jetties along the Saanich Inlet shoreline. It would receive gas via a 128-kilometre pipeline – starting with a 53-kilometre segment in Washington State and then 75 kilometres underwater across the Georgia Strait south of Salt Spring Island to Saanich Inlet. There would be one LNG carrier loading at the facility every 3-5 days.

Cameron adds, “A First Nations woman gave a passionate appeal for support as the band here as well as bands elsewhere are offered large amounts of money by the government to give assent to the LNG terminals. This is causing division amongst the band members as some want the money and others have environmental concerns. Already fish and land animals are showing up with cancerous growths in areas where fracking is going on. There was concern about this information not being widely reported on, why is this not in the newspapers. We were encouraged to join a new local group, Saanich Inlet Network to keep informed about the Bamberton proposal and join together to oppose it.”

Voting day in the provincial election is May 9.