LNG in the Great Bear Sea
Pacific Wild believes that a tanker ban in the Great Bear Sea should be expanded to include LNG tankers, in order to preserve the ecological integrity of the marine environment and the recovery of threatened whale populations in the region.
Former Premier Christy Clark staked B.C.’s economic future on a massive increase in natural gas extraction and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Asia, including at least 5 new pipelines across northern B.C. and up to 20 new export terminals on the coast. Although Pacific markets for B.C. LNG never materialized, not a single pipeline or terminal has been completed, and B.C. has already invested millions in taxpayer dollars with no return, NDP Premier John Horgan continues to support LNG expansion as a road to prosperity. You can read more about this economic boondoggle here. Why oppose this dream of an economic boom, based on “clean” energy exports?
If current proposals went ahead, 40,000 – 50,000 new shale gas wells would be drilled in northeastern B.C. and at least 5 new pipelines would be built, destroying agricultural land and wildlife habitat in their footprint.
Methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, escapes during the fracking and liquefaction processes, making shale gas one of the worst fossil fuels for climate impacts.
If 5 new liquefaction plants went into operation on the north coast as planned, they would add approximately 73 million tonnes of atmospheric carbon, more than doubling B.C.’s total carbon footprint by 2020, according to research by the Pembina Institute.
Experts have conservatively estimated that 39,000 new fracked wells would draw and then pollute as much water as the City of Calgary on an annual basis, an estimated 582 billion litres of water.
A liquefaction plant in Kitimat, if powered by burning natural gas, could result in local air pollution and acid rain, which would also have an impact on salmon.
The huge increase in tanker traffic associated with LNG exports will result in marine acoustic pollution levels that will degrade cetacean habitat, as well as more collisions with threatened marine mammals.
There is no existing process for an environmental assessment of the cumulative impacts of all of these wells, pipelines and plants, as well as dozens of new mines, hydroelectric transmission lines and run-of-river projects proposed for northern B.C. In addition, Premier Clark amended BC's Clean Energy Act in 2012 without debate, to make LNG liquefaction emissions exempt from reporting.
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It is vital that the government provides these unique ecosystems with immediate assessment and permanent protection before they are destroyed and lost forever.