Why B.C. drive's to develop an LNG export market is economically, environmentally and socially unacceptable.
The B.C. government is out to build an environmentally-damaging export industry around Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Although touted as a safe, green energy source, the reality is that producing and transporting LNG is incredibly energy-intensive and destructive to air, land and water. With no less than eleven B.C. projects on the horizon – all with export facilities and supertankers attached – LNG could prove to be the biggest energy threat to the Great Bear Region to date.
What is LNG?
LNG is natural gas that has been converted into a liquid. The liquid is far more compact than the gas in its natural state, making it easier and cheaper to transport and store. To convert natural gas to LNG, it needs to be cooled to the extreme low of -162 degrees Celsius.
British Columbia has all but used up its conventional natural gas reserves, leaving current proposed LNG projects to resort to shale gas. This gas, locked into rock deep under the Earth's surface, is released via the environmentally destructive process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking.
Fracking involves blasting enormous quantities of water, chemicals and sand into the ground to fracture the rock and release the gas that's trapped there. As natural gas is collected, methane – a highly potent greenhouse gas – leaches out into the atmosphere. Fracking contaminates local water supplies, and it is also a major contributor to climate change.
Facts About LNG
Climate stability: LNG is not “clean” energy - All of the CO2 and methane emissions associated with the complete life cycle of LNG production – extraction, processing, cooling and transportation – make it just as dirty a fossil fuel as coal. If five new liquefaction plants went into operation on the north coast as planned, B.C.’s total carbon footprint would more than double.
Land and water: If current proposals went ahead, 40,000 – 50,000 new shale gas wells would be drilled in northeastern B.C. and at least five new pipelines would be built, destroying agricultural land and wildlife habitat in their footprint and polluting air and groundwater. Air pollution is also a major concern in Kitimat where liquefaction and export facilities are planned.
Whales: Tanker collisions with whales can cause death or serious injury. Proposed tanker routes would plough straight through critical habitat of the threatened humpback whale, as well as important killer whale and fin whale habitat.
A quiet ocean: Supertankers are the loudest marine vessels on Earth. The absence of bulk tanker traffic in the Great Bear Sea has meant that the quiet conditions essential to whales and other animals for foraging, navigation and communication have been preserved, enabling the ongoing recovery of humpback whales in the region.
Salmon habitat: Pacific Northwest LNG’s proposed export facility site on the Skeena River Estuary near Prince Rupert would damage the most critical habitat for millions of salmon smolts. In addition, burning natural gas to power liquefaction plants creates nitrogen oxide emissions, leading to acidified waterways that will lower survival rates of young salmon.
A way of life: Coastal communities, currently in the process of developing sustainable economies in which ecotourism plays a large role, would face the constant threat of spills, explosions and shipping accidents, in addition to chronic and cumulative environmental impacts associated with supertanker traffic.
Legislated environmental protections: The B.C. government has already made significant changes to the Parks Act and the Clean Energy Act in favour of pipeline corridors and higher greenhouse gas emissions. Many LNG proponents are Chinese corporations that will be able to seek compensation from the province under FIPA for imposing any regulatory changes that negatively affect their investments.
Your voice is needed!
Pacific Wild needs your help to bust the myth of clean, green LNG. Raise your voice against this environmentally devastating fossil fuel, and the explosion of tankers, plants and pipelines threatening a global ecological treasure.