Opponents of Woodfibre LNG appeal to federal minister

For Immediate Release, April 30, 2015

Howe Sound – Concerned local residents made a legal appeal to environment minister Leona Aglukkaq for the federal government to do its own examination of the Woodfibre LNG proposal rather than letting B.C. run the environmental assessment of the project.

“The idea of shipping LNG through our heavily populated area requires serious consideration of the hazards,” says Dr. Eoin Finn, spokesperson for the citizens group “My Sea to Sky.” He says, “The Woodfibre location doesn’t even meet the siting criteria set by the LNG industry itself. Nor does it meet the U.S. LNG siting criteria.”

The Woodfibre LNG project requires assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, but in 2014 minister Aglukkaq allowed the B.C. environmental assessment process to “substitute” for the federal process. Lawyer Bill Andrews, representing My Sea to Sky, says “The provincial process is not meeting the federal legal requirement to examine the potentially catastrophic effects of an LNG spill due to an accident or malfunction regarding LNG shipping.” “In addition,” he says, “the provincial process excludes members of the public from the ‘Working Group’ that conducts the assessment, contrary to the CEAA requirement that the public be allowed to participate in the assessment.”

The U.S. Coast Guard’s LNG siting process looks at human populations within hazard zones of 500 m, 1,600 m and 3,500 m around the terminal and shipping route. These hazard zones for the Woodfibre LNG proposal include the Sea to Sky Highway, BC Ferries traffic out of Horseshoe Bay, and considerable portions of West Vancouver, Lions Bay, Bowen Island, Furry Creek, Bowyer Island, Anvil Island, as well as Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Murrin Provincial Park, and Britannia Beach.

The U.S. siting standards require consideration of the possibility that an LNG spill over water creates a vapour plume that could travel a mile and a half or more before igniting, creating an LNG fireball, a flash back to the source, and then a pool fire at the LNG spill site. In contrast, Woodfibre LNG Inc.’s application claims there would be “negligible to minor” consequences in a worst case scenario of LNG being released from all the cargo tanks on an LNG carrier (maximum capacity of 180,000 m3).

Dr. Eoin Finn is available for interview via email or phone: (604) 715-7991

Bill Andrews is available for interview via email or phone: (604) 924-0921

Download: April 28, 2015 letter from William J. Andrews to Hon. Leon Aglukkaq.

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