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Woodfibre LNG gets environmental stamp of approval from Ottawa

National Observer, By Elizabeth McSheffrey in News, Energy | March 18th 2016

Howe Sound and Squamish looking out to the Pacific

The federal department, Environment and Climate Change Canada, has given the green light to the controversial Woodfibre LNG project, ruling on Friday that the proposal is "not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects."

(Howe Sound and Squamish looking out to the Pacific. Photo by Rich Duncan, and provided by My Sea to Sky)

In an Environmental Assessment Decision Statement, department Minister Catherine McKenna established more than a dozen legally binding conditions for the $1.6-billion processing and export facility, scheduled for construction at the former Woodfibre pulp mill site roughly seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, B.C.

Long list of conditions for approval

"As a result of our government's commitment to tackling climate change and our interim approach and principles for environmental assessments, this review also benefited from an analysis of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project," the minister stated.

She too, issued a long list of conditions for the Woodfibre LNG project to go along with her decision, including two that address management of the facility's greenhouse emissions.

Local opposition continues

Completed, the Woodfibre LNG project would produce roughly 2.1 million tonnes of liquified natural gas per year for 25 years, resulting in up to four new tankers travelling through shipping lanes in Howe Sound per month. Since its inception, the proposal has been hotly-debated due to the risk it may pose to local whale, dolphin, salmon, herring and shellfish populations, which have slowly returned to Howe Sound since the closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill in 2006 and the upgrading of waste water treatment plants at the nearby Port Mellon pulp mill and Britannia Beach mine site.

My Sea to Sky, a citizens' group opposed to the new development, amounted its approval to a broken election promise given the Liberal government's commitment to a low-carbon future.

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  • Mary Walter
    commented 2016-03-20 12:43:40 -0700
    very disappointed in decision to go ahead with wood fibre LNG under flawed review process. Climate targets won’t be reached