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Mail Time: Woodfibre LNG acting acceptably?

Bowen organization asking for feedback on Woodfibre LNG's Squamish project
An artist rendering of the Woodfibre LNG plant outside of Squamish once completed.

Climate change is here, and we know we must stop building new fossil fuel projects. But Woodfibre LNG is doing exactly the opposite. The company pushes ahead with construction (on its Squamish facility) possibly starting next month.

It does so, as it has continued to get non-support resolutions from Municipal Councils within the Atl’Ka7tsem/ Howe Sound Biosphere Reserve. Bowen Municipal Council adopted its non-support resolution July 11 last year.

Since then, the company has simply continued going as if nothing is wrong. It applied for changes to the conditions that are an integral part of the Federal approval of the project. Yes, the conditions that were the selling points of the federal Government when it approved the project, and those the company committed to in 2016.

At that point, the public trust in the environmental review process was rock bottom. This forced the Canadian Government to enter into a review of environmental reviews later that year. Canadians were promised stronger environmental regulation, and an overhaul of the environmental review process. But that’s partially what happened.

The oil and gas industry intensely lobbied Ottawa to ensure that it would get what it wanted, and what that was, we are finding out now. Under the new 2019 Environmental Review Act, conditions can be added, changed or removed, something the 2012 Act didn’t accommodate for. And conveniently, approvals under the 2012 Act are now “deemed to be” approvals under the 2019 Act.

So now we find ourselves in a situation, when we were asked in 2016 to trust the approval of the project because of firm conditions, to now submit our input about changing them.

The public input process was called by the federal environmental review agency last November, but was done so poorly that we found out four days before the December 19 deadline. Together with My Sea to Sky, we demanded an extension, which was given to the public to the end of this month, Monday, January 30.

As Concerned Citizens Bowen, we stand on the position, that when we were asked to trust an approval because of conditions, those conditions cannot be changed after the fact. It is what we put our trust in, and we don’t buy it that an approval under the 2012 Act is now “deemed” the same as one under the 2019 Act.

We are further strengthened in our position when we see what the proposed changes are.

Woodfibre LNG wants a 99 per cent reduction of the underwater noise safety precautions for sea-lions and seals. Not really acceptable in a recovering Atl’Ka7tsem/ Howe Sound Biosphere Reserve.

Woodfibre LNG also wants a condition for fresh and marine water quality monitoring and mitigation during construction rewritten to only include human health, not the protection of aquatic life. Not a good idea, as this is an old pulp site, and so the risk of the pile driving remobilizing legacy pulp mill chemical contaminants in the sea-floor is pretty much a given.

Please take this opportunity to show your continued support to protect what makes Atl’Ka7tsem/ Howe Sound so special. It’s nature, wildlife and people!

You can send your comment(s) to the IAAC (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada) on their Woodfibre LNG page: or use the link on our website:

On behalf of Concerned Citizens Bowen,

- Anton van Walraven