Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lelu Island LNG opponents continue media push against proposed terminal

We still have no firm date declared when it comes to the release of the CEAA's final report on the proposed LNG terminal project for Lelu Island, so while we wait for further indication that the process is nearing some sort of home stretch,  it seems we will find that our idle time on the Pacific NorthWest LNG files is to be filled with the release of a number of studies, reports, opinions and media presentations

The opponents of the proposed terminal project had a busy Tuesday, as the Skeena Watershed Coalition provided an exclusive opinion piece for the Vancouver Sun, published in print and on the newspaper's website.

While over on the radio side of the media push for the day, CFNR was featuring the the views of a collection of Lelu LNG opponents including the SWC and the Tim Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

The Vancouver Sun Opinion piece was submitted by Greg Horne of the Skeena Watershed Coalition and carries the attention grabbing title of Faulty Science muddies waters of LNG plan for Lelu Island.

The main thrust of the commentary was used to find fault with a number of items related to the material provided by Pacific NorthWest LNG when it comes to their research into the proposed development for Lelu Island.

With the Skeena Watershed group suggesting that the Pacific Northwest LNG work had been rejected three times in the quest to provide what Mr. Horne calls credible science.

An interesting turn of a phrase, though the term rejected seems designed more for impact than for detail, as there has been no actual declaration publicly proclaimed by the Federal body expressing their outright rejection of that data.

Now to be fair, the process was put on pause a few times through 2015 as the CEAA requested more information, or clarification of information that had been provided, something that is not uncommon when it comes to a wide ranging and long running review of major environmental issues related to proposed industrial developments.

Beyond the parsing of words steeped in rhetoric, the Skeena Watershed article does highlight some of the key concerns related to the proposed development, particularly when it comes to the Flora Bank area and the importance that the estuary has for those that oppose the development.

Some of the commentary was also reserved for the political ambitions of the provincial government and its welcome to Petronas the parent company of Pacific NorthWest LNG, which the author describes as notorious for its international image.

The presentation in the Sun ends with a call to not jeopardize one of the most prolific wild salmon runs in the world, with the final notes of the opinion piece calling on the regulator to reject the concept of an LNG plant on Lelu Island.

You can review that article here.

The CFNR item focuses on allegations made by the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition with both groups suggesting that advertising from Pacific NorthWest LNG is misleading.

Mr. Horne once again served as the spokesman for the collective, noting that the groups have concerns related to the maps that were used in recent advertising by the LNG company, as well as what they say are misleading statements related to the Pacific Northwest 3D modelling of Flora Bank.

The range of comments form Mr. Horne as relayed through CFNR can be heard here.

The twin media themes of this week come as the community awaits the end of the CEAA process. And while some may still think that the CEAA decision will be delivered before the end of the year, the more likely scenario still seems to be pointing towards an announcement some time in early 2016.

The nature of the importance related to the upcoming CEAA decision is clearly on the mind of many around the Northwest, with both those for and against the proposal looking for some form of indication as to what the CEAA will announce.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, Prince Rupert Port Authority CEO and President Don Krusel touched on the Pacific NorthWest project at last month's Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Observing that no decision has been made to this point when it comes to the proposed LNG development, Mr. Krusel also made note of the volume of studies that Pacific NorthWest LNG has conducted over the last few years as part of the assessment process related to any impact on the Lelu Island area as they investigate the potential of development for the area.

He also pointed out that if the work conducted by the proponent of the LNG terminal is not up to the standard of the CEAA then the project will not receive a permit or be approved, suggesting that as a community what we should do is wait as the process continues to examine all of the evidence that has been provided.

Towards that decision the Port CEO noted the rigorous amount of modelling, research and scientific data that Pacific NorthWest LNG has delivered to the CEAA as part of that process.

His commentary on the Lelu Island process can be reviewed from the Chamber of Commerce presentation available on the Port of Prince Rupert's You Tube page, the LNG discussion starts at just before the 27 minute mark.

Last week, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain also offered up some background on the City's position related to the Lelu Island proposal, noting for the weekly paper that the City is still waiting to see what the CEAA process is going to come back with.

Seemingly leaving things until that process is near an end, before the City offers up any public comment or indication as to what it thinks about the development of Lelu Island as a location for an LNG export facility.

For more background on the path of the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal proposal to this point see our archive page here.

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