I am writing about the company Quicksilver making an application to the Canadian National Energy Board to export 20 million tones a year of liquefied natural gas from its Campbell River site. Our Mayor Walter Jakeway advises us to “watch, wait and wave the Campbell River flag” – mirroring what he said over a year ago: that the best thing the city can do is “get out of the way.”
I beg to differ with this approach which has the city, Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations salivating over the prospect of some increased tax revenue; a few hundred short term construction jobs, and between 50 and 100 long term jobs at the proposed LNG export plant. Myself and many Campbell River and district citizens would prefer that our community’s business leaders and elected officials wake up and first take a look at some disturbing facts about LNG and LNG export plants before endorsing this project.
For a start, there’s safety factors. Despite Quicksilver’s assurances LNG is not flammable, a spill of LNG produces a lethal combustible fog which if ignited, will burn at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Even with security vessels near the tankers, human error and/or extreme conditions could cause a tanker grounding or collision with ships on our coastline waters.
Then there are the water issues. The fracked shale gas from north eastern B.C. used for this plant uses huge amounts of water in the production process and has resulted in contaminated drinking water near the well sites. LNG export plants use massive amounts of water and processing the water could have a devastating effect on the water quality of our Georgia Straight.
Do we want to take a chance on a LNG export plant polluting our precious marine environment? Also, with lower snow pack melts in our watersheds and resultant water shortages affecting salmon as well as our drinking water source especially during the summer months, do we need an industry on our doorstep with a massive appetite for water?
We demand Mayor Jakeway and the provincial politicians touting LNG production and export as our province’s salvation take a step back from so endorsing this economically and environmentally damaging industry and start asking the right questions.