Isn’t it sad and soul destroying that we have to read, in last week’s letter from Woodfibre LNG in the Bowen Island Undercurrent, that Woodfibre LNG regards Howe Sound not to be a high-population density area and therefore not to be an issue in public safety risk assessments? Although the SIGTTO and Sandia safety guidelines were never part of Woodfibre LNG’s environmental assessment application, they now try to make it sound like they were. That does it, I guess — if our lives are only valued by Woodfibre LNG when we are at more than 9,000 peoples per square mile, what more can we say?
Well a lot actually.
In the light of rapidly moving climate change, all of our efforts should be focused on investing in local, provincial, national and continental renewable energy infrastructure, such as making Bowen Island fully solar, considering on-island hydro storage capacity and connecting into a North American grid of wind, solar, geothermal energy farms and hydro storage. Instead, we have to waste our precious time fighting off a proposal for a LNG plant and LNG super tankers going through our waters, because the BC government and its super-rich supporters hold the opinion that Howe Sound is well suited for a LNG processing and export plant.
We have been barraged with ads coming from the oil and gas industry and its politicians, trying to seduce us into accepting that BC needs LNG; that it is clean LNG; that it is safe, and a so-called “bridge fuel” to get us, and Asia, to a “renewable energy future.”
LNG is cooled methane. This fossil fuel is a potent greenhouse gas. Its extraction with fracking is far from clean. Fracking destroys wildlife habitat, leads to ground water contamination, leaves behind pools of toxic affluent, and wastes away our highly valuable freshwater resources. At least seven per cent of well heads leak methane and the fracking operations in northeast BC would like to get their energy from the proposed Site-C dam, which itself would lead to the flooding of farmland needed for growing future crops. The drought in California makes that abundantly clear.
Should LNG be a “bridge fuel”? But what needs to be bridged? Why invest in infrastructure that will soon be obsolete, when we can leap into a renewable energy future? We can start building that today! The technology is already here and is being used through out the world for over 10 years. China and Europe are moving ahead fast. I bet you, the rest of Asia and Africa will follow soon. And it is starting to rumble in the US as well: Hawaii sees any money going into LNG proposals as money not being spent on its goal of going 100 per cent renewable.
How does it work? China and Europe are building and connecting its solar, geothermal and wind farms to a smart grid that will allow the energy to move from locations of generation to locations of need or storage. For instance, when there is less wind over here, it will blow in other locations across the continent or energy can be released from storage. Norway has just offered its hydro storage capacity to the European grid. Local energy generation for local use is part of this mix.
This, people, offers hope and a way out of the economic malaise Canada is in. It is the hope that we feel when we see the herring and whales return to a recovering Howe Sound. This is the hope that gives us confidence and guidance to build the children of this world a future.
Anton van Walraven
On behalf of Concerned