Pacific NorthWest LNG project gets federal approval
Sep 29 2016 by Francis Osborne
The government decision fired the starting gun on a "total project review", including costs of fulfilling 190 conditions on the environmental approval as well as the outlook for global LNG markets and prices, Pacific NorthWest said. They argued the facility would cause a massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions at a time when Canada looks set to badly miss its existing climate change targets.
The Canadian project's go-ahead comes at a hard time for Petronas, which is going through a significant cost-cutting amid low energy prices.
Earlier this year, 90 scientists sent a letter to Catherine McKenna, minister of environment and climate change, calling on her to reject the LNG proposal because the GHG emissions from the project and its upstream effects "are significant and represent material challenges to BC and Canada toward meeting their climate change targets".
In the final decision, which was approved by the federal government, there are 190 conditions that Petronas, the author of the project, needs to meet.
Petronas and its partners have been waiting for approval from the Canadian authorities for three years to build the US$35 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal in northern British Columbia.
"This is a project that will benefit all Canadians", said Premier Clark.
With approval from both the federal and provincial government, Pacific NorthWest LNG will now take the time to assess the conditions that accompany the federal approval.
But he said some conditions requiring additional data collection and modelling on the sensitive salmon habitat around Flora Bank could provide proponents reason to abandon the project.
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"Pacific NorthWest LNG is slated to be built on top of an eelgrass bed that supports 88 per cent of the salmon in the Skeena River and all those who rely on them".
"How can Prime Minister Trudeau claim to be a climate leader on the worldwide stage, while approving this new project that will become the single largest source of climate pollution in the country", said Karen Mahon, national director of Stand.
"We have come to understand that the values by which people support or oppose pipelines are the same: We all want a future for our families", she said.
Once a final financial investment decision has been made, this project will have significant positive economic and social impacts for First Nations communities along the proposed pipeline route. We've spoken to numerous First Nations leaders who say this LNG facility could not be put in a worse place. "Approving this project does not unlock the kind of innovation, jobs and clean growth that will drive Canada's economic prosperity in the years ahead".
This project alone is projected to add 8.5 per cent to B.C.'s carbon emissions.
July 21, 2015: The B.C. government passes legislation that ratifies a project development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG. "The Trudeau government's lofty rhetoric on climate has proven nothing more than sunny ways talking points".
McKenna will carry the Pacific Northwest decision into a meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts next Monday in Montreal, where they are set to begin negotiations on a strategy for meeting Canada's worldwide climate commitments.
In the 2013 election campaign, Clark campaigned on a "debt free B.C." platform based on the promises of a liquefied natural gas industry.