LNG project would have minimal effects on fish: DFO

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – According to a recent letter from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project would have minimal impacts on fish habitats.

They believe that they can handle any problems that do occur, but do not see any larger issues potentially happening.

“Based on information provided by the Proponent to date, including the revised information within their June 17, 2016 Information Request submission on proposed – 2- timing, mitigation measures, timing windows and monitoring, it is DFO’s opinion that construction related impacts to fish and fish habitat can be mitigated and subsequently has a low probability of resulting in significant adverse effects to fish and fish habitat.”

The article did however say that marine life, such as mammals, could face larger problems. Especially when wanting to detect larger mammals at night and in low light.

“The Proponent’s recommendation to use “proven” technologies to detect marine mammals at night and in low light conditions was due to the possibility that pile driving activities would begin at night. Originally, the Proponent had indicated that they might commence pile driving activities during the day and continue into the night. DFO’s previous advice on this methodology was that this would be acceptable as prior to commencing any pile driving activities, visual observations could be made to ensure that the marine mammal safety zone was clear of marine mammals. Once pile driving commenced, it is not expected that marine mammals would advance into the ensonified areas to a point where harm or death would occur. DFO’s review of the measures that the Proponent has proposed to detect marine mammals at night and in low light conditions has concluded that these technologies would be inadequate to determine with a reasonable level of confidence that cetaceans would be present or absent from the marine safety zone. As such, commencing pile driving activities at night represents a high risk to marine mammals. Consequently, DFO does not recommend that pile driving activities commence at night, until such time as the various mitigation measures outlined by the Proponent are implemented to the satisfaction of DFO and have been shown to effectively identify marine mammals within the safety zone prior to commencing any night time pile driving activities.”

The letter comes as, according to a story posted on the Globe and Mail, Environmentalists have expressed concerns that the pier would have significant problems if the LNG facility is to be built.

First Nations group Lax Kw’alaams is open to supporting the project, while former Mayor Gary Reece is not in favour of the project going forward. Reece allegedly said it would have “a serious risk to the fisheries habitat and marine environment.” However, the DFO has seemed to state otherwise.

 

With files from: Brent Jang – The Globe and Mail

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