natural gas

Thu, 2014-04-17 12:51Carol Linnitt
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B.C. Pulls About-Face After First Nations Call Removal of Gas Development Environmental Assessment a ‘Declaration of War’

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B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has reversed and apologized for excluding First Nations from two amendments that would eliminate the province’s mandatory environmental assessment of gas developments and ski resorts.

As DeSmog Canada recently reported, the Orders in Council were passed without public consultation and would exclude major natural gas processing facilities and resorts from undergoing a standard environmental review and public consultation process.

The rescindment is a direct result of backlash from the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN),” Anna Johnston, staff counsel with West Coast Environmental Law Association, told DeSmog Canada. “Yesterday, at an LNG Summit hosted by the FNFN, they ‘drummed out’ government representatives due to the provincial government’s failure to consult with them on the Orders.”

B.C. officials were escorted from the forum on liquefied natural gas (LNG) after news of the eliminated environment assessments broke. At the forum, called “Striking a Balance,” Chief Sharleen Gale of the FNFN asked B.C. government officials to leave the room, saying “what I learned from my elders is you treat people kind. You treat people with respect…even when they’re stabbing you in the back.”

Tue, 2014-04-15 16:36Carol Linnitt
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B.C. Removes Mandatory Environmental Review of Natural Gas, Ski Resort Developments

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Major natural gas projects and ski resort developments now have the option of being built in B.C. without environmental assessment after the Liberal government quietly deposited two Orders in Council Monday. (Update April 17, 2014: The B.C. government has rescinded this decision. Read our new post here)

The Orders – passed without public consultation – include changes to the Reviewable Projects Regulation under the provincial Environmental Assessment Act which eliminate mandatory environmental review of new and/or modified natural gas and ski facilities. As a result, proposed projects like the Jumbo Glacier Resort or new natural gas processing facilities may skirt the approval process without standard environment review, which involves public consultation.

These regulatory changes only heighten the crisis of public confidence in B.C.’s environmental assessment process,” said Jessica Clogg, executive director and senior counsel with West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCEL) in a press release.

Wed, 2014-04-09 16:20Derek Leahy
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Benefits from Canada's Energy Boom Remain in Energy Sector and Largely in Alberta, Reports IMF

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The message the federal government has been pushing through its ‘responsible resource development’ ad blitz in recent years is one of all Canadians benefiting from developing our energy sources (particularly the oilsands). This is why export pipelines must be built through our communities and LNG plants for natural gas constructed on our coasts. Canadian oil and gas must reach international markets for the economy to thrive, argues Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the infamous global finances referee, took a closer look at Canada’s energy sector – oil and gas primarily – earlier this year and finds the benefits from Canada’s energy boom still remain largely within the energy sector.

There appears to be an important scope to increase inter-industry linkages across Canada that would lead to wider sharing of benefits from the energy sector,” concludes the IMF report released last January.

The IMF finds every dollar invested in the energy sector in Alberta grows Canadian GDP – an economic vitality indicator – by 90 cents. Of this growth, 82 cents remains in Alberta, mostly in the energy sector (67 cents). The leftover GDP growth is split between Ontario (four cents), the rest of Canada (three cents) and the U.S.(two cents).

Tue, 2014-03-25 09:50Guest
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Massive Shellfish Die-Off in B.C. Heralds a Future We Can and Must Avoid


This is a guest post by Caitlyn Vernon and Torrance Coste.

The February 25th headline, “10 million scallops are dead; company lays off staff,” hit British Columbians like a punch in the stomach. The shellfish industry has been an economic powerhouse on central Vancouver Island for decades, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue every year – over $30 million in average wholesale value. 

But when we talk about shellfish, we aren’t just talking jobs and economics. We are talking about food. Shellfish harvesting is one of our most robust local food systems, and the prospect of losing this industry makes us all feel, quite frankly, a little hungry.

Of the possible causes of the recent scallop die-off, ocean acidification seems the most likely. Ocean acidification is directly connected to climate change and to our runaway consumption of fossil fuels. In short, acidification occurs when carbon is absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere, making the water more acidic. Acidification strips the ocean of carbonate ions, which marine species like scallops and oysters need to build their shells, therefore reducing the ability of these species to survive.

Tue, 2014-02-11 11:57Derek Leahy
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Ontario Approves Importing U.S. Fracked Gas

The Ontario Energy Board’s approval of three natural gas projects last week puts the province’s plans to significantly reduce Ontario’s carbon footprint in jeopardy.

The ruling also gives Ontario the green light to import controversial shale gas from the U.S. This type of gas is trapped in rock-like shale and is extracted using a process called hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, which involves pumping a chemical mix underground at high temperatures to break apart the rock and free the gas. The practice has caused controversy worldwide due to fracking chemicals and methane contaminating drinking water.

So often we see approvals given to pipeline and fossil fuel projects without a real understanding of the broader and long-term impacts on climate, water and public health,” says Emma Lui, a water campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

Fri, 2014-01-17 13:05Stephen Leahy
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DeSmog Investigation into Faulty Natural Gas Emissions Reporting Prompts Response from B.C. Government

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The B.C. Ministry of Environment stands by its “implausibly low” estimate of methane leaks from the natural gas sector according to an official “information note” triggered by DeSmog's two-part article series last May.

The DeSmog investigation revealed methane leaks were likely 7 times greater than the B.C. government is reporting based on data from US studies. The real climate impacts of those leaks would be like adding at least three million cars to B.C. roads.

DeSmog's findings were subsequently confirmed by international energy experts in June. “Canada appears to have vastly underestimated fugitive emissions (leaks) from gas exploration in British Colombia [sic],” possibly because of “inadequate accounting methodology” they reported.

Their report documents studies and data from other countries showing methane leaks range between 2 and 9% of total production compared to B.C.'s reported 0.3%. This difference is “substantial” they said.

Thu, 2014-01-16 10:57Indra Das
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BC Natural Gas Industry Could Produce Carbon Pollution to Rival Oilsands by 2020

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Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development in British Columbia could produce 73 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year by 2020, according to the Pembina Institute. This would bring the carbon footprint of LNG development in B.C. to three-quarters as much as that of the oilsands, currently Canada's fastest growing source of climate pollution.

Alison Bailie of the Pembina Institute writes in The Tyee, that the estimate is at the “lower end” of the development scenario required to realize the B.C. government's hopes for annual revenue from LNG exceeding $4 billion. The province would need to produce four to six trillion cubic feet of shale gas per year by 2020 to reach that number.

The scale of that kind of natural gas production would require five to seven LNG facilities and over 10,000 wells with an accompanying network of roads, pipelines, compressors and gas processing plants.

Wed, 2014-01-08 13:19Kai Nagata
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Christy Clark and the Great False Choice of 2014

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Our premier capped off 2013 — the most impressive year of her political career — with a trade mission to Asia, where she hopes to sell fracked-in-B.C. natural gas. Speaking in Tokyo on December 2, Clark offered a startling glimpse into her vision for our province’s economy.

It could be that Clark was simply telling some overseas businessmen what they wanted to hear. Or perhaps her new messaging reflects her true economic beliefs. Either way, British Columbians are about to be offered a false choice.

Here’s what Clark said in a speech at a natural resources conference, according to the Globe and Mail’s Justine Hunter:

The fundamental challenge for B.C.– and in fact, all developed economies in the world – goes beyond the recent global downturn and a fragile recovery. We need the courage to take a broader and deeper look, and admit the truth about most of the developed economies around the world.”

Amen, Premier. You’re absolutely right. Please continue.

Mon, 2014-01-06 17:38Carol Linnitt
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Feds Held Public Comment Period on Proposed Squamish LNG Plant Over Holiday Period

If you were busy enjoying the holiday season with your family, you might have missed a request for public opinion made by the federal government on December 17, 2013.  

The Government of Canada was seeking comments from the public on the proposed Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd. export terminal that, if approved, will operate for 25 years in Howe Sound, producing between 1.5 and 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually.

The public comment period closed Monday, January 6, 2014.

In addition to comments on the potential environmental effects of the project, the federal government was also seeking the public’s opinion on B.C.’s request to perform a provincial environmental assessment of the project, instead of a federal review done under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) 2012.

Tue, 2013-12-31 15:15Carol Linnitt
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B.C. Government's LNG Energy Awareness Quiz Short on Facts

The B.C. Liberal government released an energy awareness quiz Monday touting the benefits of B.C.'s fracked gas boom while failing to address the implications of gas development on the province's water and greenhouse gas emissions.

The LNG in B.C. Awareness Quiz is already being tagged as a promotional tool used to win public approval and downplay the negative side effects of the B.C. Liberal government's heavy push for liqueified natural gas (LNG). More than a dozen LNG export facilities are proposed for the B.C. coast to export gas to Asian markets. 

Athough directly related to fracking, the quiz makes no mention of the controversial industrial process and the wide range of social and ecological concerns arising in its wake.

The quiz is comprised of the ten following questions and extended answers:


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