The Sunshine Coast Conservation Association is among some 25 environmental groups and non-government organizations who are united in their opposition to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant proposed for Texada Island. The group, which includes the Georgia Strait Alliance, Dogwood Initiative and Texada Action Now (TAN), plan to make submissions to Premier Gordon Campbell's Climate Action Team.
"This is not just a Texada problem, it's a problem for the whole Georgia Basin and indeed the whole planet," says Rob McWilliam, director of TAN, which recently circulated a petition supported by 84 percent of the adult population of the island. (Those who were not at home were not included, so the support is probably much higher, he noted.)
"It's absurd for the Province to consider allowing the importation and burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation while promising to reduce greenhouse gases by 33% by 2020," stated TAN Chair, Chuck Childress. "LNG is far dirtier than domestic gas and the production, cooling, shipping, and regasification can result in greenhouse gas emissions 40% higher than domestic gas. The generating plant alone could emit the pollution of a half million automobiles"
The $2 billion plant is being proposed by formerly Calgary based Westpac, which recently moved its office to Vancouver. Westpac has stated it is waiting for the provincial regulation changes resulting from the Premier's climate change initiative before making a formal application.
Under the proposal, the LNG, stored at minus 161 deg. Celsius, would be shipped from around the globe in 950-ft supertankers, and deliquified at the plant.
"An incident involving one of these tankers could result in an almost unimaginable catastrophe" says Chuck Childress. He noted that at the end of January, The Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation introduced legislation that would prohibit approval of any LNG terminal in the US until the Coast Guard has adequate security capability.
"It's looking more and more like the real motive for the LNG plant is to ship much of the gas to the U.S. market, where there is strong opposition to building terminals on US shores." He noted that B.C. is a net exporter of gas so that any new gas coming in will either be exported to the U.S. or will displace domestic gas so that it can be freed up for export.
"This is going totally in the wrong direction," said Childress. "The locating of heavily polluting industry on any of the Gulf Islands or the Sunshine Coast would be criminal."