Why we oppose the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal

Mar 7, 2016
Ian McAllister

Here's my letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency describing why Pacific Wild doesn't support the Petronas/Pacific NorthWest LNG Proposal.

Click here to send your own letter - you have the option of customizing mine or starting from scratch.

Thanks in advance for speaking out against this proposal - as I write below, beyond the threats this poses to the land, sea, and communities of the Great Bear, this project is totally incompatible with any realistic notion of Canada meeting its international obligations to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Not only that, it's a direct contradiction to the type of reconciliation the new federal government has been advocating for since it arrived in Ottawa. 

Again - thanks for taking the time.

- Ian

Re: Pacific NorthWest LNG Proposal

To Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of Pacific Wild, I write to express my grave concern and total opposition to the Pacific NorthWest LNG Proposal. As a resident of the Central Coast and an ardent conservationist, I cannot endorse this project.

First and foremost, it is unbelievable to me that this project continues to be deliberated by the CEAA, Honourable Minister McKenna, and others when the Lax Kw’alaams community voted unanimously to reject the project - and with it, a payout of 1.15 billion dollars from Petronas to buy their support.

As if that isn’t grounds to reject the project outright, I submit the additional concerns and criticisms for your continued deliberation.

The Skeena is the second largest salmon-producer in Canada, and has supported First Nations fisheries on the coast and upriver for at least 5,000 years.

It is well-established that industrial activity in estuaries is known to reduce salmon survival. As described in the Lelu Declaration, both ancestral knowledge and modern science confirms that Flora and Agnew Banks are critical to the future abundance of the wild salmon that communities and wildlife rely on.

A study commissioned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band revealed that Flora Bank sediments are held in place by a dynamic equilibrium of complex tidal and river currents. The report by SedTrend Analysis Ltd. concluded that the bridge supports, trestle pilings, dredging and tanker traffic could disrupt this balance, eventually destroying the salmon habitat by erosion or deposition. So far, the CEAA has - without cause - ignored this and similar reports (peer-reviewed and otherwise), opting instead for a study by the project proponent (Petronas).

Beyond ignoring the Lax Kw'alaams’ opposition, it is unconscionable that in this “age of reconciliation” the First Nations upriver from the estuary have not been consulted about this project. The health, culture, economy of these communities, as well as the ecology of the territories would be directly affected by salmon declines.

To be clear: this proposal does not just violate the spirit of reconciliation, it actually goes so far as to threaten the viability of local communities and economies by undermining their livelihoods and food source.

Of additional concern is this project’s implications for wildlife and their habitat. It is well understood that any impacts to salmon will affect marine mammals, including threatened populations such as northern resident killer whales. Furthermore, the increase in shipping traffic associated with this project will increase the risk of ship strikes to whales, and will have a negative impact on the acoustic environment that whales and other species rely on to forage, navigate and communicate.

In closing, I would like to remind the CEAA, Honourable Minister McKenna, and all others concerned that this project does nothing to mitigate the effects of runaway climate change, only accelerate them. Should the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal succeed, this new industry (along with the fracking fields in B.C.'s northeast needed to fuel it) would constitute Canada's next largest "carbon bomb." According to Canada's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program, the facility's estimated emissions would rank it third among emitters in the oil and gas sector, and be more than double the current total emissions of the Natural Gas Distribution Sector in Canada. (See page 36 of the CEAA draft report on the Lelu Island LNG Plant.)

Simply put, this project is completely incompatible with any realistic notion of Canada meeting its international obligations to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees; a direct contradiction to the reconciliation the new federal government has been espousing since it arrived in Ottawa; and a major threat to the health and wellbeing of the land, sea, and communities of the Great Bear Rainforest.

I urge you to reject this proposal.


Ian McAllister
Executive Director
Pacific Wild

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