FORT. ST JOHN, B.C. – Those hoping for jobless, and overall economic relief for the hard-pressed oil and gas industry in this region as the result of the federal government approval next month of the 36-billion dollar Pacific NorthWest LNG project, are facing yet another opposition challenge.
About 90 climate scientists from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and the UK are warning of dire environmental effects if the project, majority owned by Petronas, the Malaysian government owned Oil and Gas Company, and four other minority consortium partners, gets the green light from the Trudeau government.
Some of the world’s leading experts on climate change are part of this group including NASA scientist James Hansen and Tim Flannery, the chief councillor of Australia’s Climate Commission. They have released an open letter claiming the project would be one of Canada’s largest point source greenhouse gas emitters.
They’re calling the draft environmental assessment for the project, superficial and incomplete, arguing it likely underestimated the amount of emissions that will be released.
Doctor Danny Harvey, a senior Canadian climate scientist, and lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says:
“Major uncertainties remain concerning greenhouse gas emissions from the fracking that would supply the natural gas, and concerning its full impact on emissions in the countries that would receive the natural gas.”
He goes on to say:
“To proceed with a long term project without knowing the consequences would be reckless.”
The federal government is set to make the final decision on the controversial proposal within the next 90 days, but Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has indicated it could come by the end of June.
The LNG project would see a liquefaction and export facility built on Lelu Island on land administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority, and Progress Energy, which like Pacific Northwest LNG is majority-owned by Petronas, would supply that facility with natural gas produced in Northeast BC and that’s why the project is viewed by many in this region as a panacea to the current economic downturn.