Coastal British Columbia is at a crossroads. The Harper government’s vision of an industrialized coastline with as many as three major fossil fuel ports appears increasingly at odds with the aspirations of most British Columbians. Oil tankers have been banned from our North and Central Coast and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers not even considered in our waters until these last few years. Projects currently proposed could see as many as 650-750 tankers of various kinds plying our coastal waters.
Market forces and an impending election mean that all proposed development remains uncertain, yet review processes continue their relentless progress toward approvals. Living Oceans has been working to protect B.C.’s coast from fossil fuel development and transport for over 15 years. Here’s what we’re working on right now.
Living Oceans was granted intervenor status in the Joint Review Panel hearings for Northern Gateway. We commissioned and submitted expert evidence on oil spill response technology, spill preparedness and response regimes and capacity to deal with oiled wildlife. Read some of our expert reports and find out more about our Enbridge campaign here.
Living Oceans was once again granted intervenor status, this time before the National Energy Board, operating under new rules passed in 2012. In this hearing, we are submitting evidence about what happens to diluted bitumen when spilled in the ocean, what technology is available to clean it up and what health impacts will be suffered by both people and wildlife in the event of a spill. Read our expert evidence.
Woodfibre LNG plant
The Woodfibre LNG plant proposed for Howe Sound, immediately northwest of Vancouver, would be the first liquefied natural gas plant in Canada. It would see some 40 enormous LNG tankers passing deep into Howe Sound to the Woodfibre plant at Squamish.
The downside of LNG development is the risk of a shipping accident causing widespread death and damage. The route intended for the enormous, pressurized tankers that carry LNG takes the ships deep into the relatively narrow and populated Howe Sound; a place where pleasure craft and commercial fishing boats are numerous and three busy ferry routes converge as they approach Horseshoe Bay.
We couldn’t give you a better primer on the development than that created by Bowen Island Grade 6 student Miranda Berry for her science project on Howe Sound.