LETTER: Fifteen years makes a big difference

Dear Editor:

Just recently Woodfibre LNG has applied to have its Natural Gas Export license extended from 25 to 40 years.

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Yes, you heard me right. Just after we have gone through an environmental assessment process in which we were told that Woodfibre LNG would be using seawater cooling for 25 years, LNG tankers would be traveling up and down Howe Sound for 25 years, the environmental impacts of this project would be for 25 years, Woodfibre LNG has decided to add another 15 years, just because it can.

LNG Canada, Pacific Northwest LNG and WCC LNG already have theirs approved by the National Energy Board. The companies use an amendment made by the former government and supported by the present one: the option for energy companies to extend their energy export licenses even before a project is built.

Of course these energy exporting companies love it. They can profit from their capital investments 15 years longer at minimal costs: the costs of the application. And even better, in case Canada decides it can no longer export fossil fuels, the energy companies can claim a lot more compensation for lost profits. What a deal!

But what about the costs for taxpayers? In case of compensations, we will be paying for them together with the recently announced reduced hydro rates for LNG companies, the so called LNG eDrive. You wonder, will Canada make any money from these LNG projects at all?

And what are the implications of this extension for Woodfibre LNG’s Environmental Assessment Certificate? None! There is not a word in it about the number of years the plant is allowed to operate. So much for the environmental assessment, which is not about accumulated effects over time anyway, rather it is all about how far you can go per year and not have any environmental damage to show for. The reality is the real damage is done by the accumulation of small damage done year after year after year. There are plenty of past examples of this in Howe Sound with industry. So yes, 40 years instead of 25 years is a big issue.

By going through all of this again, it is hard to realize that the whole system is set up to produce certain results. Yet with all our honesty, we have been taking part in public comment periods, letter-writing drives, because we expected the process and the people behind it to be honest. It turns out they are not, we have been lied to over and over again and that is hard for honest people to accept, so we won’t!

In light of this, glad we helped kill the seawater cooling.

On behalf of Concerned Citizens Bowen,
Anton van Walraven

© Copyright Bowen Island Undercurrent


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