Environmental groups urge rejection of LNG terminal due to climate impacts

Image from the Wilderness Committee.

Image from the Wilderness Committee.

Vancouver – An environmental assessment report released by the federal government shows that the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal must be rejected due to its climate impact, environmental groups say.

The draft report from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), which includes the Agency’s conclusions and recommendations regarding potential environmental effects, says the proposed project on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, BC. would have “significant adverse environmental effects” due to its associated greenhouse gas emissions. It states that the associated emissions are “high in magnitude, continuous, irreversible and global in extent.”

Pacific NorthWest LNG would generate at least 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually, which could increase BC’s provincial emissions by 18 per cent or more – making it “amongst the largest single point sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.”

“This colossal increase in greenhouse gas emissions would undermine the work that Canadians are doing to reduce our climate impact,” said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee. “It would be completely out of line with the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement late last year.”

Conservationists have also pointed out that, in addition to the climate impacts of Pacific NorthWest LNG, the project would have a devastating impact on salmon in the Skeena River, an issue that was overlooked in the CEAA report. Biologists say 88 percent of juvenile salmon in the Skeena rely on the eelgrass beds at the site of the terminal.

“This place is Grand Central Station for salmon,” said McCartney. “The Skeena is one of the most important refuges for this keystone species in British Columbia.”

Several First Nations leaders have signed a declaration calling for the permanent protection of the Lelu Island site from the proposed LNG terminal.

“Given all of the risks that this project poses – not just to the climate but to salmon and the communities who rely on them – the federal government must reject the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal immediately,” McCartney said.