FortisBC's sneaky shenanigans

June 28, 2023
Eoin Finn

FortisBC is proposing to drill a 14 foot wide, 9 km tunnel under the Squamish estuary.

FortisBC is proposing to drill a 14 foot wide, 9 km tunnel underneath the Squamish estuary from the BC Rail site to Woodfibre LNG.

This tunnel is a massive undertaking, and is part of the proposed 24-inch high-pressure gas pipeline that is being built between Coquitlam and the Woodfibre site only to transport fracked gas from northeast BC to Woodfibre LNG for export.

Earlier this month, on June 14, 2023, FortisBC’s tunnel boring machines were delivered to Squamish.

Before and after the tunnel boring machines were delivered to the BC Rail site in Squamish. Photos: John Buchanan

The tunnel boring machines were transported via barge and arrived in Squamish at roughly 5:30pm on June 14, 2023. The logos were clearly visible at that time. FortisBC waited until close to midnight to transport the tunnel boring machines through town to the BC Rail site. The next morning, at 7:30am on June 15, 2023, all identifying marks were covered up.

Why is FortisBC trying to avoid public scrutiny and oversight?

See the image series on Instagram, Twitter, or via the Squamish Chief.

FortisBC has failed to consult

Following a recent presentation by FortisBC to the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, we politely inquired what outstanding permits FortisBC needed to proceed, and if FortisBC would also be applying for a permit to discharge effluent (similar to the permit Woodfibre LNG recently applied for). FortisBC replied that it only needed a building permit from the District of Squamish, which is blatantly false and misleading information.

We persevered and discovered that FortisBC still needs a permit from the BC Energy Regulator to drill the tunnel and discharge effluent into the Squamish River.

FortisBC falsely claims that it engaged the public on this permit application during the pandemic in November 2020. Thankfully, we had saved a copy of the ad printed in the Squamish Chief, along with a copy of FortisBC's presentation to demonstrate that this was not true. READ OUR LETTER

The BC Energy Regulator was poised to approve this permit in July with no public oversight, but we've pushed back and we are now being allowed to review FortisBC's permit application.

The District of Squamish has also pushed back on FortisBC's failure to consult, and voted unanimously to send a letter to the BC Energy Regulator requesting proper public engagement on this permit application. WATCH THE COUNCIL MEETING (~10 minutes)

Help us hire an expert in toxicology

We have hired an expert in environmental toxicology to help us to review both FortisBC and Woodfibre LNG's applications to the BC Energy Regulator to discharge effluent into the Squamish River and Howe Sound, but we need to raise $6,300 to pay for their time to review these two massive applications.

Can you chip in to help us hire the expertise we need to hold FortisBC and Woodfibre LNG accountable?

Yes! I'll chip in

This expert has already flagged that "Woodfibre LNG's proposed effluent discharge exceeds water quality guidelines" and "will result in accumulation or build-up of many persistent toxic contaminants in the sediments and waters of Howe Sound."

Our communities have worked for decades to clean up the toxic legacy of past industries in Átl’ḵa7tsem / Howe Sound. We cannot allow Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC to pollute these fragile and recovering ecosystems again.

With thanks and determination,

Eoin Finn

Research Director
My Sea to Sky

My Sea to Sky is incredibly proud and grateful to say that we rely on the My Sea to Sky community for small donations that provide the majority of our funding. Since our launch in 2014, we have been funded through personal savings, family and friends; and powered by the passion of our volunteers. Your generous contribution will help us to run our critical campaigns to defend, protect, and restore Howe Sound. Can you chip in?