LETTER: Woodfibre approval belies COP21 promise

Dear Editor:

Re: Federal approval of Woodfibre LNG in Howe Sound

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Open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau:

I may be naive, but it’s not just me. Many citizens are disillusioned with your climate change pronouncements right now. On March 18 your government failed its first real on-the-ground climate test.

By quietly approving a new fossil fuel industry for Canada — LNG for export — you have locked Canada into a massive new fossil fuel paradigm for decades to come. How can you possibly justify this and simultaneously attempt to transition Canada to a new low-carbon economy? We thought “real change” included real action on climate change.

By approving the Woodfibre LNG project in Howe Sound, B.C.’s iconic and world renowned fjord, your government has broken faith with thousands of hopeful citizens who voted for your party in the last election.

How naive we are. We believed Minister McKenna’s announcement at COP21 that “Canada is back.” It was an exciting message. Under Harper we gave up hope that we could leave a safe and sustainable future for our children. Mr. Trudeau, you have no idea how hard so many of us worked to put you on that world stage!

In addition to the climate issues of approving Canada’s first LNG export project — two egregious components under your government’s control remain unaddressed:

1. The once-through seawater cooling system: cheap — but also banned in California and Europe as hugely destructive to marine ecosystems. After decades of industrial abuse Howe Sound is actually returning to life. The salmon fishery recently reopened. Herring have rebounded. Whales, orcas and dolphins have reappeared. Approving Woodfibre’s discharge into the ocean of 400 million litres per day of hot chlorinated water for 25 years is simply unacceptable.

2. The hazards of LNG as a dangerous cargo: LNG tankers are classified as the second most dangerous ships on the ocean, next only to ships carrying explosives. Designation of LNG plant and LNG tanker hazard zones are compulsory in the U.S. We have no such regulations in Canada. This is also unacceptable.

Unless these shortcomings are addressed head-on, impacts on marine life and people will come back to haunt you. A very large community of B.C. voters have not given permission for Woodfibre LNG.

Your words are eloquent, but approval of this project is not!

Jackie DeRoo
West Vancouver

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