Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Prince Rupert Council outlines some thoughts on Pacific NorthWest LNG delays

The recent move by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to receive a delay in the assessment process for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project provided for a few moments of reflection at City Council on Monday evening.

Councillor Joy Thorlekson hailed the move as a positive step for science, offering up a few comments related to the decision by Catherine McKenna the Federal Minister of Environment to delay any final assessment decision by ninety days, suggesting that many in the community had jumped the gun when they believed that the project was safe for fish.

"It was quite interesting that many people jumped the gun on the CEAA Report on LNG it was a draft report and asked for people to respond to it, the response is in and the CEAA has deferred a decision for another ninety days. Because the questions weren't asked, so when the Chamber and people in town are saying that it's OK and safe for fish  they should read the latest report by the Department of Fisheries and by the CEAA and find out that it's not exactly safe for fish.

I just wanted to make sure that people understood that it really needs to be a science debate and not a debate on how many truckers can line up in Prince George and Fort St. John, but really what the impacts on our community are going to be and what the impacts on the commercial and sport fishery ...

So I just wanted to point out that the CEAA has not said that the project is safe for fish and that the Department of Fisheries has not said that the project is safe for fish, and so I think that we need to be aware of that."  -- Councillor Joy Thorkelson on the recent delay granted to the assessment process for the pacific NorthWest LNG project

Mayor Brain followed up her short review of the latest developments offering some comments on the City of Prince Rupert's approach to the issue, noting that the City has provided input to the assessment process with the CEAA.

"And just for the public's record, the City of Prince Rupert has submitted a submission to the CEAA process with some science, we have a staff member now, who is in charge of dealing with the EA processes, and is dealing with CEAA on a scientific capacity, so that's been submitted.  

The City of Prince Rupert has yet to sign an agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG we are still  under negotiations, and so we are following along the process with the CEAA and respecting the process as it is going through it. 

The next three months there will be a decision will be made and however that happens, at that time, the City will most likely respond from there -- Mayor Lee Brain updating Council and the public on the city's contribution to the LNG Environmental Assessment process.  

However if submitted, the city's comments are proving hard to find on the CEAA's website, perhaps tucked away on the site,  taking up some corner of the digital archive of the long list of submissions available on the issue.

A quick scan of the Search registry for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project as part of the project website with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency doesn't turn up a copy of the City's submission, with only three submissions featuring "Prince Rupert" to be found as part of the vast collection of submissions to the process.

So far only three submissions noting "Prince Rupert" have been logged at
the CEAA Project page for the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal

Considering that Mayor Brain has now announced for the public record that the City has provided a submission to the CEAA process, posting a copy of the City's submission to the City website should be considered by City Council.

That way residents of the community can learn more about the City's contribution to the discussion and what science the City has cited as part of that participation.

It's worth noting as well that no public discussion in Council Chamber appears to have been held on the topic of the City's contribution to the CEAA process, leaving residents unaware as to where each Council member may be found on the issue of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

You can review the conversation on LNG from Monday night as part of the City's Video Archive page, it starts at the just past the one hour, two minute mark.

For more items related to the Monday Council session see our Council Timeline feature here.

For further background on the many topics covered by Prince Rupert Council see our Council Discussion Archive page.

Those looking for more background on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project can review our archive page for that proposed development here.

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