Vancouver mayor calls for full cross-examination of witnesses at Kinder Morgan hearings

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wants everyone at the hearing into the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline subject to questioning.

The controversial proposal to build a second Trans Mountain Pipeline to Burnaby is headed for National Energy Board hearings, and Robertson believes all witnesses should be subject to cross-examination.

“Why is it that residents in B.C.’s north had the opportunity to take part in the Northern Gateway hearings, but when it comes to a pipeline in our own backyard, the Lower Mainland is shut out?” asked the mayor.

“It is these decisions by the NEB to sideline public input that foster distrust and undercut the entire review process.”

Robertson will be introducing a motion on notice at this week’s city council meeting call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal government to guarantee open public hearings and cross-examination of witnesses at the NEB review.

“The National Energy Board’s review process must guarantee a thorough, inclusive, and open hearing of input from all stakeholders,” Robertson said in a statement.

“It’s clear to me that the current process will preclude important evidence from being examined and prevent far too many voices from exercising their right to be heard.”

Earlier, the city sent a letter of support to intervener Robyn Allan, who has asked that the hearing order include oral cross-examination of all witnesses on their evidence by interveners, the NEB, and Trans Mountain.

The ability to cross-examine all witnesses was part of the Northern Gateway review process, but is not part of the Trans Mountain Pipeline review.

“Vancouver has substantial concerns to express about the enormous risks posed to our local economy and environment by a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in and around Vancouver’s harbour,” said Robertson.

Two pipeline proposals — the Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain projects — have polarized many in B.C. who weigh economic benefits against environmental risks.

Many, including Premier Christy Clark, have expressed concern that B.C. is accepting much of the environmental risk while most of the jobs and economic benefit will go to Alberta’s oilsands.

First Nations also play a key role in the pipeline fight, with potential court challenges stacking up against the promise of potential jobs and royalties.

The mayor’s motion will be introduced Tuesday, then debated at the following council meeting on May 13.

iaustin@theprovince.com

twitter.com/ianaustin007

Poll: British Columbians ready to shift away from fossil fuels

Seven in ten see economic opportunity in developing cleaner sources of energy

VANCOUVER — New polling research reveals that British Columbians want the province to produce, use and export fewer fossil fuels and embrace cleaner sources of energy instead.

The poll found more than three quarters of British Columbians (78%) agree that B.C. should transition away from using fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy to prevent climate change from getting worse. More than two thirds (67%) agree the province should decrease its reliance on fossil fuel exports to avoid future boom and bust economic cycles.

Another three quarters (74%) agree that the province has a good opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by developing the solutions needed to transition away from fossil fuels.

“As climate science continues to demonstrate, climate change could have devastating impacts on both the environment and the economy,” said Kevin Sauve, spokesperson for the Pembina Institute in B.C. “It’s encouraging to see that British Columbians are on the same page. Not only do they understand the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels but see economic benefits in developing cleaner sources of energy as well.”

“British Columbia is largely sitting on the sidelines of a global clean energy bonanza,” said Merran Smith, Director of Clean Energy Canada. “Citizens know that the world’s energy system is changing. The provincial government needs to strengthen the province’s clean energy economy through targeted policy today.”

“This poll sends a clear message that British Columbians want steps put in place now to transition this province towards a prosperous low-carbon future,” said Tom Pedersen, Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). “It is encouraging to see such strong support for change across all levels of society, but especially among tomorrow’s leaders — 18-34 year olds.”

The Pembina Institute, Clean Energy Canada and PICS commissioned Strategic Communications Inc. to conduct this poll. The results are from an online survey that was fielded April 1st to April 2nd 2014, conducted among 802 adult British Columbia residents using an established proprietary research panel. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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For the complete results of the polling analysis, see: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2539

CONTACT:

For more information about the polling results:

Kevin Sauve, Pembina Institute
o: 604-874-8558 x:231 | c: 604-354-2628

James Glave, Clean Energy Canada
o: 604-947-2200 | c: 604-833-4368

Robyn Meyer, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
o: 250-853-3626 | c: 250-588-4053

For more information about the polling methodology:

John Willis, Strategic Communications Inc.
o: 604-681-3030 x:70 | c: 416-319-0052

BACKGROUND:

The Pembina Institute is a national non-partisan think tank that advances clean energy solutions through research, education, consulting and advocacy. The Institute has offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife and Vancouver and has spent close to three decades working to reduce the environmental impacts of Canada’s energy production and use.

Clean Energy Canada works to accelerate Canada’s transition to a clean and renewable energy system. We build awareness of and support for solutions that address climate disruption and foster an energy efficient, environmentally responsible and prosperous economy. We do so in collaboration with civil society, governments and the private sector.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) brings together leading researchers from British Columbia and around the world to study the impacts of climate change and to develop innovative solutions towards transitioning to a vibrant, low-carbon economy. Hosted and led by the University of Victoria in collaboration with BC’s three other research-intensive universities – Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia – PICS pulls together the intellectual capital of the province while working in partnership with all levels of government, the private and the non-profit sector.

Strategic Communications Inc. (Stratcom) is a full service opinion research and communications firm with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and London UK. We have been providing strategic, political and public affairs polling and focus groups since 1991. Stratcom has been the official pollster to 24 Hours newspaper in Vancouver, and its research has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, Maclean’s Magazine, the Globe and Mail and other national and regional publications.

The Pembina Institute is a non-partisan sustainable energy think tank.

Earthquake hits off coast of Port Hardy, B.C.

VANCOUVER – A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It struck at 8:10 p.m. PDT and the epicentre was located about 91 km south off the coast, at a depth of about 11 km. It was originally recorded as a 6.7 but has been downgraded to a 6.6 magnitude earthquake.

Residents in Port Hardy said the ground shook for about 35 to 40 seconds during the preliminary earthquake. Groceries were knocked off the shelves at the local Overwaitea store.

People are saying they felt it as far away as Langley and Kelowna.

Earthquakes Canada is reporting the earthquake was a 5.9 magnitude.

The National Weather Service says there is no risk of a tsunami.

However, the USGS says to expect aftershocks. Two aftershocks, magnitude 5.0 and 4.2 struck the same region at about 8:20 and 8:41 p.m. PDT. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the earthquake.

Mayor of Port Hardy, Bev Parnham, said she was actually at a reception when the earthquake struck.

“We were just in the process of welcoming the lieutenant-governor to the community, and the earth started to shake and the building started to shake,” she said. “It was up there with one of those ones that you do feel and that you do remember.”

However, everyone remained very cool. “I think by the time we realized what had happened we were all just sort of looking at each other and [said] ‘Oh, that was an earthquake,’” said Parnham.

“We’re not hearing of any reports [of damage]. Our own infrastructure has been checked and things are fine. We haven’t heard any reports from any communities in the North Island. So, we’re not expecting to hear that there is any great deal of damage,” she added.

Emergency services in Port Hardy are on alert, but Parnham said they are always prepared as they live in a seismic area.

Simon Fraser University Geologist Brent Ward said this was quite a large earthquake. “Very lucky that it’s off the coast and it’s not that close to high population centres,” he said. “”Because this is actually bigger than one of the earthquakes that hit Christchurch in New Zealand and that caused extensive damage.”

“This was quite shallow.”

Ward said he is not surprised many people across the Lower Mainland could feel the shaking. “In certain situations where people are living or on top of thick, soft, sediments, the earthquake waves actually become stronger so I would expect that people in Richmond, Delta, parts of Langely, where they’re on the thick, Fraser River sediments, would feel the earthquake, whereas someone like me, whose on sort of a bedrock area with thin sediments, I didn’t feel anything.”

Global BC anchor Sophie Lui felt it in downtown Vancouver. “I was sitting on my couch and I heard my vertical blinds shaking,” she said. “And thought at first that maybe the rain had started, but they kept shaking and I looked back and my chandelier or light fixture was shaking as well. And then I realized that the shaking kept going and kept going and I thought ‘ok I think we’re going through this again.’”

She said she did not feel the building shaking too much, but it did last about 20 to 30 seconds.

“Most people around Vancouver who felt it seemed to be up high in high rises,” she said.

Earthquake hits off coast of Port Hardy, B.C.

VANCOUVER – A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It struck at 8:10 p.m. PDT and the epicentre was located about 91 km south off the coast, at a depth of about 11 km. It was originally recorded as a 6.7 but has been downgraded to a 6.6 magnitude earthquake.

Residents in Port Hardy said the ground shook for about 35 to 40 seconds during the preliminary earthquake. Groceries were knocked off the shelves at the local Overwaitea store.

People are saying they felt it as far away as Langley and Kelowna.

Earthquakes Canada is reporting the earthquake was a 5.9 magnitude.

The National Weather Service says there is no risk of a tsunami.

However, the USGS says to expect aftershocks. Two aftershocks, magnitude 5.0 and 4.2 struck the same region at about 8:20 and 8:41 p.m. PDT. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the earthquake.

Mayor of Port Hardy, Bev Parnham, said she was actually at a reception when the earthquake struck.

“We were just in the process of welcoming the lieutenant-governor to the community, and the earth started to shake and the building started to shake,” she said. “It was up there with one of those ones that you do feel and that you do remember.”

However, everyone remained very cool. “I think by the time we realized what had happened we were all just sort of looking at each other and [said] ‘Oh, that was an earthquake,’” said Parnham.

“We’re not hearing of any reports [of damage]. Our own infrastructure has been checked and things are fine. We haven’t heard any reports from any communities in the North Island. So, we’re not expecting to hear that there is any great deal of damage,” she added.

Emergency services in Port Hardy are on alert, but Parnham said they are always prepared as they live in a seismic area.

Simon Fraser University Geologist Brent Ward said this was quite a large earthquake. “Very lucky that it’s off the coast and it’s not that close to high population centres,” he said. “”Because this is actually bigger than one of the earthquakes that hit Christchurch in New Zealand and that caused extensive damage.”

“This was quite shallow.”

Ward said he is not surprised many people across the Lower Mainland could feel the shaking. “In certain situations where people are living or on top of thick, soft, sediments, the earthquake waves actually become stronger so I would expect that people in Richmond, Delta, parts of Langely, where they’re on the thick, Fraser River sediments, would feel the earthquake, whereas someone like me, whose on sort of a bedrock area with thin sediments, I didn’t feel anything.”

Global BC anchor Sophie Lui felt it in downtown Vancouver. “I was sitting on my couch and I heard my vertical blinds shaking,” she said. “And thought at first that maybe the rain had started, but they kept shaking and I looked back and my chandelier or light fixture was shaking as well. And then I realized that the shaking kept going and kept going and I thought ‘ok I think we’re going through this again.’”

She said she did not feel the building shaking too much, but it did last about 20 to 30 seconds.

“Most people around Vancouver who felt it seemed to be up high in high rises,” she said.

Oil-sands link to health concerns, report says

In one of the first reports to link oil-sands production to human health effects, a panel reporting to Alberta’s energy regulator says odours from a heavy oil site in the northwestern part of the province have the potential to cause health issues.

Human health is a concern often cited by opponents of rapid oil-sands development. But while other Alberta government entities have examined long-standing cancer concerns in the small First Nations community of Fort Chipewyan north of Fort McMurray, no study in that area has found a conclusive link to nearby oil-sands sites and human health. Last week, for instance, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan are similar to those in the rest of the province.

Monday’s panel report, which makes recommendations to the Alberta Energy Regulator, follows panel hearings in January on heavy-oil health concerns from residents of a small farming community south of Peace River. For more than two years, people living near the Baytex Energy Corp. bitumen site have reported symptoms such as headaches and pains, a lack of co-ordination and spasms. According to lawyer Keith Wilson, who represents several rural landowners, seven families have been forced from their homes.

This report doesn’t require immediate action from the company but local landowner Brian Labrecque said the report is a reassuring step in the right direction. “They’ve provided us with confirmation this is a very serious issue.”

The panel said energy regulations are not up to snuff when it comes to managing emissions and odours in the region, but notes the regulatory gap should be addressed by soon-to-be implemented changes. The report points out bitumen production in the area – which is separate from Alberta’s main oil-sands region near Fort McMurray – is uniquely high in rotten-egg smelling sulphur and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a concern due to potential carcinogenic properties. However, the panel makes the fine distinction between the potential health symptoms caused by odours, and the effects of toxic chemicals – saying there’s no sign chemicals in emissions cause health problems for residents.

The panel also recommended that technology be put in place within four months to capture all gases. Baytex spokesman Andrew Loosley said the company is already doing or has committed to doing much of what the panel has recommended, but might have difficulty meeting that timeline. He added that studies the company has done “tell us the air is safe.”

Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank, said the report points out rules and monitoring have not kept pace with development, a consistent criticism of the oil sands. “These recommendations could ensure that flaring and venting is addressed properly, but just in this one small area of Alberta,” he said. “The same technological solution can be used to prevent odours, health risks and greenhouse-gas emissions throughout the province.”

Monday’s report had little to say regarding a startling submission by Margaret Sears, who was commissioned by the panel to examine health effects. In her January report, the Ottawa-based specialist in toxicology and public health said Alberta doctors are “afraid to diagnose health conditions linked to the oil and gas industry.” Dr. Sears said physicians point to the experience of John O’Connor, a doctor who went public with oil-related human health concerns in Fort Chipewyan a decade ago and later faced criticism over his claims. But the panel report concluded “there was limited information to support this claim.”

In an interview, Dr. Sears said she reached her conclusion by speaking to a small sample of physicians and public health officials across Alberta, as well as area landowners seeking treatment. Dr. Sears’s concerns about Alberta physicians received a brief mention in a weekend New York Times opinion piece on the oil sands.

The recommendations will now go to the energy regulator, who will provide an action plan in about two weeks. Landowners are also awaiting a Court of Queen’s Bench decision on an injunction request to temporarily halt the operation of the bitumen storage tanks owned by Baytex. That ruling is also expected some time in April.

Environmental health risks of Alberta oil sands likely underestimated: study

A new study suggests the environmental health risks of oilsands operations in Alberta’s Athabasca region have probably been underestimated.

Researchers say emissions of potentially hazardous air pollution that were used in environmental reviews done before approving some projects did not include evaporation from tailings ponds or other sources, such as dust from mining sites.

Video: Athabasca spill adds to Alberta oil’s image problem

The study, by the University of Toronto’s environmental chemistry research group, looked at reported levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) — chemicals which can be released into the air, water and soil when bitumen-rich oilsands are mined and processed.

“Our study shows that emissions of PAH estimated in environmental impact assessments conducted to approve developments in the Athabasca oilsands region are likely too low,” reads the study published Monday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The potential therefore exists that estimation of future risk to humans and wildlife because of surface mining in the Athabasca oilsands region has been underestimated.”

Professor Frank Wania, one of the study’s authors, said the results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oilsands operations, especially when more projects are being built or planned in the region.

Using computer models, researchers studied emissions estimates from environmental reports to predict chemical concentrations from direct oilsands industrial activity such as mining, processing and vehicle traffic.

They found the levels were lower than actually measured levels of chemicals in the air recorded in other scientific studies.

Researchers then modified the computer model to factor in estimates of evaporation from oilsands tailing ponds. Predicted concentrations were then much closer to the recorded levels.

They used a third model using concentrations of PAH levels measured by Environment Canada in the region between November 2010 and February 2011.

The results suggest emissions may be two to three times higher than the estimates recorded in project environmental reviews.

Wania said some chemicals pose a potential cancer risk, but nothing imminent.

The concentrations that have been measured in the air in the oilsands region are comparable to a big city such as Toronto.

“It is not that I am raising the red flag here, that we should be very concerned, because we live with these concentrations day in and day out,” he said.

“All we are saying is that the basis for the human health risk assessment is flawed.”

Environment Canada officials were not immediately available for comment.

Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, an environmental policy think-tank, said the study raises questions about tailings ponds and oilsands monitoring.

He said industry has never demonstrated that it is able to effectively deal with tailings waste and the government is not enforcing existing cleanup rules.

“This study provides further evidence that rules need to be enforced and the growth of tailings waste halted,” he wrote in an email.

Dyer said governments and regulators need to take the study’s findings into account when determining if it is appropriate to approve new projects.

He also said oilsands monitoring needs to be expanded.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers didn’t comment on the study’s specific findings, but noted the federal and Alberta governments are working together to improve oilsands monitoring.

“This U of T study takes existing data and uses computer modeling to make suggestions,” Geraldine Anderson, an association spokeswoman wrote in an email.

“As the study notes, there are major efforts under way through JOSM (joint oil sands monitoring) to develop improved models, a better understanding of pathways, and a better understanding of the limits of existing data.

“Science-based research is in everybody’s best interest because it helps achieve the goal of long-term, responsible resource development.”

Wania said the team’s research was funded by the university. He said Environment Canada is now providing money for more research to follow up on the findings.

A report published last year in the same journal found that oilsands development is polluting surrounding lakes in northern Alberta.

The federally funded research by some of Canada’s top scientists found levels of toxic hydrocarbons in six lakes between 2 1/2 and 23 times what they were before the mines were built.

The paper said while overall toxin levels remain low, trends aren’t good and some lakes are already approaching warning levels.

It said the timing of the contamination and its chemical makeup point to industrial sources.

First Nations exposed to pollutants in ‘chemical valley’

A new study is drawing attention to the health problems being faced by a First Nations community living near one of Canada’s most industrialized areas.

Members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation living on a reserve near Sarnia, Ont., have long suspected harmful chemicals were behind an unusually low male birth rate and slew of other reported health issues.

Now, tests performed by a McGill University professor suggest mothers and children are being exposed to higher-than-average levels of harmful hormone-blocking pollutants.

While the study doesn’t prove that the pollutants are to blame for earlier research that found baby girls outnumbered boys by a two-to-one ratio in the community, it does suggest a possible link.

The reserve at the centre of the study is located near a patch of southern Ontario that some environmental activists call “chemical valley.”

There are 60 industrial facilities found within a 25 kilometre radius of Aamjiwnaang lands.

More research needed

“It’s the first study to really show that mothers and children in the area are exposed to a number of pollutants,” said Niladri Basu, a McGill professor and the study’s lead author.

More detailed research is needed to establish a connection between pollutants, health risks and the surrounding environment, Basu said.

Residents of Aamjiwnaang have been calling for such a study for years, though a lack of funding continues to impede more detailed research.

Ada Lockridge, who helped found Aamjiwnaang’s environmental committee, said pollution is a fact of life for the reserve’s roughly 800 residents.

Like others in the community, Lockridge keeps a special plastic bucket — as part of a group known as the “bucket brigade” — to collect environmental samples that can be tested for toxins whenever the air seems especially poor. The results are sent to a U.S.-based monitoring organization.

“It’s a beautiful place, but there is all kinds of industry close by,” she said.

According to Lockridge, the evidence continues to mount in favour of stricter environmental controls in the area.

“Everything we do gets us a little further, but it’s moving very slowly,” she said. “Every study we’ve ever done, people say, ‘this is cause for concern,’ but more studies need to be done.”

Cluster of chemical companies

Approximately 40 per cent of Canada’s chemical industry is clustered in the area, according to a 2007 report by the Canadian environmental group Ecojustice.

Located at the southernmost tip of Lake Huron on the border between Ontario and Michigan, activists say the area has become one of Canada’s pollution hot spots — lined with chemical plants, manufacturing plants, and refineries.

A 2006 community survey by Aamjiwnaang’s environment committee cited a number of health issues, including miscarriages, chronic headaches and asthma. Forty per cent of band members surveyed required an inhaler.

Elaine MacDonald, a scientist who co-authored the 2007 Ecojustice report, is hopeful Basu’s study will encourage further research.

As it stands, it’s difficult to draw a direct correlation between pollutants and health issues such as the low male birth rate.

“This is a start, and it’s a great start, but to me there’s so much that needs to be done, and there’s no money,” she said.

MacDonald said it’s been difficult to get government funding at both the federal and provincial level. A more comprehensive study that includes the surrounding area, Lambton County, has stalled due to lack of funding.

“The major exposures in this community are via air, so I would like to see a study focusing on air pollutants,” MacDonald said.

For the recent McGill study, 43 mother-child pairs from the community were tested for environmental pollutants. Blood, urine and hair samples were taken from those who participated.

Exposures were higher-than-average for chemicals such as cadmium, possibly mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs.

Potential sources of the chemicals are industry, the general environment, and the home. It’s not conclusive which is to blame in this case.

PCBs are used in industrial applications such as coolants in transformers and motors and have been largely banned, although they can remain in the environment for years.

Previous studies of other populations have linked exposure to PCBs with low male birth rates.

Aamjiwnaang’s low male birth rate was documented in research published in the U.S. journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Between 1999 and 2003, the sex ratio of girls to boys was roughly 33 per cent for boys and 67 per cent for girls.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

Do you support the provincial government’s push to develop B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry?

Do you support the provincial government’s push to develop B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry?

No. I believe nothing that Christy Clark and her band of thugs say. She’s proven she’s a liar and even willing to disobey Supreme Court Orders. She is stealing from the education and healthcare funds to pay into the prosperity funds so that big business can reap the rewards. Her facts are glossed over and are a joke except to those who have some short-lived jobs building all this infrastructure. I support nothing she does or says because she’s proven time and time again that she’s a liar and a bully. Just because you say it with a smile Christy, doesn’t mean we’re all stupid enough to believe you. I wish I could report you and your fraudulent ways. HST etc. Families first – right. Your family and cohorts families first is more like it. BS to you and the rest of your Fiberal bunch. I am not a sheep.

–Tracey Eide, Maple Ridge

No. Far too much evidence fracking is dangerous and harmful to the environment, Until they can prove fracking is safe, BC must be a “fracking free zone”. I am also concerned about LNG tankers in the Douglas Channel along with 100’s of oil tankers. When the collision occurs it may possibly be the largest manmade non nuclear explosion. In the chase for money the government has not thought about the other costs.

–Norm Ryder, Victoria

No I dont support this. The LNG process like the tar sands crude extraction process will consume vast quantities of fresh water which ends up becoming toxic wastewater which has to be stored disposed of or purified. It will not be purified, there is no profit to be made from that, its pure liability. It may be disposed of by dumping it into old mines or it may be stored in tailings ponds like it is at the tar sands site, on the ground, secured by soil berms. In both cases this toxic wastewater will be allowed to seep into the ground eventually contaminating ground water as is happening now in Alberta. It is unforgivable that a government allow this. This threatens underground aquifers, steams and rivers and once in the ground we have no control over this material. If stored in ponds all it takes is one freak storm to wash that material into the surrounding river systems killing every living thing for miles downstream. It must be incumbent on the industry to have an effective plan for purifying this material before creating it but Christy Clark will not require that. Her agenda like Steven Harpers agenda is plunder the land for the resource take the money and run. They dont care about the long term risks or damage they are going to do. Have you heard any of them talk about the toxic wastewater yet? It is a huge part of the equasion but they dont talk about it they have no plan for it. They simply think short term. Sell the resource get the money worry about the mess later. THis is what BC voted for when they elected a majority liberal government led by an inexperienced media personality who has no significant management experience. Good luck BC.It takes more than good ideas to manage a province.

–Les Braden, Vancouver

“To achieve a sustainable balance between economic growth and environmental protection, Christy Clark’s government has taken affirmative action. As BC expands the role played by natural gas, we will eventually see it widely applied, not only to our largest urban areas, it will be realized in many small to medium sized communities, LNG vehicles and cold energy utilization. All the discussions indicate that LNG is strategically important in BC’s future energy infrastructure, and that, is indeed something to be supportive of”

–W. Perry, Victoria

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the production of LNG in BC. On the whole, I support it because of the economic benefits. Keep in mind however, that the economic benefits are offset by the cost of building LNG liquefaction plants (which could reach into the billions due to the high cost of steel), transportation costs (one double-hulled ship necessary for the transportation of LNG is valued at approximately $200,000,000.00 US dollars), and then of course there’s the quality, which isn’t measured until delivery so, that remains a mystery. Environmentally, it’s one of the safest fossil fuels; it burns significantly less CO2 then both petroleum and coal. There have been virtually no accidents related to shipping, though there have been a few site-related incidents. LNG is a high-maintenance form of fuel. There are specifics around storage and liquefaction that need to be considered and neglecting these can lead to serious accidents, explosions. I guess LNG will be beneficial in the long-run, but it’s going to be many years before we see the economic pay-off and that’s where my concern lies. How much time do we have to get our economic affairs in order?

–Ms. Donna Vandekerkhove, Port Moody

Yes, I support it completely. If we are to have hospitals, roads, etc. we need to expand the tax base beyond robbing the wallets of the worker. LNG is clean compare to most fuels and we live in a cold country, we need the heat to live.

–Charles Waggett, Vancouver

Not as defined to date by Government. Maybe if we were better informed of facts, less all the political bafflegab, may agree to a phased in concept, particularly if all environmental concerns have been addressed.

–George F. Evens, Mission

At the current time and for the foreseeable future the only real source of the vast amount of revenue required to fund the economy is from resources, lumber, coal, tar sands oil, natural gas, whatever. Tree huggers & entitled entities pleadings, can’t and won’t be able to fund our growing needs as a nation. Not only do I support a “push,” perhaps a bit of bulldozing would be a great help moving forward!

–Don MacKay, Vancouver

I don’t support fracking in its current form to obtain liquefied natural gas. We all know the reason that companies use it now is because from their standpoint, it’s the cheapest and easiest way. I would need strict laws and severe penalties around the use and abuse of fresh water, disposal of contaminated water, threats to our groundwater, toxic chemicals used, recovery of the chemicals used, increased transportation methods, consideration of esthetics, environmental damage, etc. before I would agree to support it. We don’t have those things at this point, and I don’t see the BC Libs moving to implement those things.

–Cheryl Baron, Maple Ridge

No I don’t. With all the challenges we and especially younger generations will face with increasing environmental challenges we as a province should be leading the push to sustainable and less environmentally destructive energy policies.

–Rob Wynen

Absolutely! These developments, properly carried forward, will deliver economic and personal benefits — well-paying employment opportunities; income to support health, education and social services — for British Columbians and many other Canadians. I personally saw such benefits flow to many in the Prince Rupert area, including the Lax Kwa’alam First Nation, as well as in other regions just from the 2 1/2-year long run up to the 1983 National Energy Board approval for a major LNG project proposed at Grassy Point. Energy prices fell and that project failed, but its potential was enormous and I believe has had lasting beneficial impact on the Lax Kwa’alam.

–James Peacock, Port Moody

Fracking is a poor substitute for a real economic policy.

–E T Millyard, Lillooet

Yes. Energy sources are required, and LNG is relatively clean. And the revenue will come in handy. Opponents seem to offer no alternatives but energy deficits and poverty – solar and wind just won’t cut it.

–Gerald Hunter, Burnaby

Of course. Are we going to stay “hewers of wood and drawers of water” forever, or join the rest of the industrialized world, and market our plentiful resources? B.C. must join the crowd, or be left behind, without the funds to maintain our standard of living. The problem is there are far too many eco freaks who would have us all still living in caves. We must ignore these morons and get on with life.

–Derek Coughtrey, Surrey

NO!! I am NOT in favour of further development of L N G or of a pipeline or of increase ferry fares or of increased MSP premiums or of the government skimming funds from Hydro, ICBC & other Crown corporations to puff up the general revenue AND make a (false) claim of no raised taxes. But it hardly seems to matter what we, the people, think or say….Christy Clark continues with her photo ops. & false presentations….just as wacky as WAC Bennett was way back. Nothing changes…just the names & faces.

The future looks very bleak & scary to me……and don’t get me started with the fracking which is already occurring (secretly & quietly) in an earthquake zone.

–Rachel Cormier, Mission

While I am not against it, I am wanting more information from someone more qualified and not so dependant on it. What worries me is the government is spending like it is a done deal and we are going to regret it. Of course this government won’t be in power when it all comes back to haunt us. They will be enjoying their pensions and placing blame elsewhere.

–Jim Stonehouse

I can’t honestly say they have my support. I have yet to hear of anything but pie in the sky promises and exaggerated claims of all the revenue that will accrue. One thing I am sure of and that’s that we do not need to be selling our natural resources to one customer, i.e. China. When the WAC Bennet Socreds brought in Northeast coal we were told that we had a great deal, much like the Columbia River treaty. The Japanese scuttled (no pun intended) the coal deal and the Americans got the best of the Columbia River treaty. Governments should not be in the business of doing business, leave that to the people who know how.

–Jim Haslett, Chilliwack

Heavens NO ! – what will the left-wing loonies (NDP)and their special interest group friends do when the industry is a huge success and BC’s economy is booming? there would be no reason for them to exist as a political party -what a shame.

–J. R. Turpin, Victoria

I may support this project, but to date, the Liberals’ approach to this new energy sector (to B.C.) is extremely naïve. They’ve already tagged a large 7% tax on future revenue, making competition in this already crowded field of exporters even tougher. Billions of dollars will be needed, approvals required from First Nations, as well as shipping clearances along the coast. It’s another pipe dream that has about a 50/50% chance of going ahead.

–Paul Davey, Vancouver

Nope. We need to pull the pin against that one before the next one blows. If you think a rail car full of oil burns hot, and kills alot of people, then wait until an LNG ship loses its load in the Burrard Inlet. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere near there.

–Daniel Halmo

YES! Why wouldn’t BC-ers?

–Mac

Although, the suggested prosperity would be a magnificent bonanza to our economy, I am worried and believe there are still too many significant concerns that must be addressed. It certainly seems premature for our government to celebrate the potential benefits when there are so many important questions that need to be answered first. One of the most compelling considerations, especially given the recent deliberations regarding our ground water, is how they intend to supply the enormous quantity of water that is required in the fracking process.

–David Bain, Maple Ridge

Yes! It’s one of few industries that generate money that pays into BC/Canadian economy (besides illegal drugs operations etc). And most oil/gas companies adhere to higher safety regulations and measures and subscribe to greener methods than the non-industry people are led to believe.

And despite the negative media attention the gas industry gets, it is the uninformed and misguided fear-mongering antics and less than honest tactics of some people/groups (and hidden agendas) that create a backwards opposition to a thriving economic landscape resulting in negative economic outcomes and a bleak future.

–Jorge Kelly, Fort Saint John

no

–Sue Lakes Cook

I do not support the push for LNG with the present technology used Hydraulic fracturing and it’s toxic cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals.It may in the short term make lots of money for BC but the long term ecological damage will be devastating to the water table ,lakes and rivers and not worth the risk for future British Columbians .

–Cheryl Leask, Chilliwack

Nope. It’s foolish in that the market is collapsing and will not revive, it’s irresponsible in that the pollution of land, water and air is destroying us, it’s unethical because it is entirely based on greed.

–Sue Stroud, Saanichton

Why isn’t the government pushing to develop sustainable technologies like Geo-thermal energy rather then more toxic fossil fuels to collapse the global environment? More short term gain, long term pain. Duane Burnett, Sechelt, BC.

–Duane Burnett

Better to get on it while it’s still worth something and use the money earned from it for social development and security as it isn’t going to last forever ……..better still, nationalize it so We earn more out of it and maybe also don’t have to pay over inflated market value for our own use, (that’ll never happen)….after all, most of it comes from publicly owned land and we only get pennies for it from royalties and other off shoot taxtortion otherwise. While the developers still get anyway……we should all be able to…….

–Rob Van De Meeberg, Vancouver.

Of course, LNG will be driving our Economy for decades creating jobs tax revenue. Far better than NDP’s promises to shut down our Industry’s putting us out of work and destroying our Economy.

–Tim Rice, Kitimat

No and I think its ridiculous and short sighted of the provincial government to find it acceptable to completely destroy rivers, lakes and our fresh water supply in order to support this industry.

–Tara Torrell, Port Moody

From what I have heard , presently , 90 % of the jobs will be going to non-b.c. residents . This I am 100 % against. We have thousands of people unemployed in b.c. and our government wants to give this industry jobs to non-b.c.’ers. Take our unemployed , train them in this field and put our people to work 1 st. The come back and ask me this question.

–dave gibney, Richmond

The BC Liberals are so desperate to continue the charade of the “LNG Prosperity Fund” for another election or two, that they will offer the foreign-owned LNG export corporations electricity at the bulk industrial rate – one third of our incremental cost from private power suppliers, thereby creating an ANNUAL $2 BILLION SUBSIDY that will push our publicly owned BC Hydro toward bankruptcy and create an enduring debt for all British Columbians. They will cut taxes and royalties to sweeten the deal; all toward supporting their energy friends of government, while BC domestic prices of both electricity and natural gas will rise for BC residents and small businesses. Just when we most need economical natural gas for home heating with electricity prices heading out of sight, the price of domestic natural gas will increase because of new access to Asian markets. We will never make back the subsidies, and the domestic price inflation on electricity and natural gas will lower the standard of living of the majority of British Columbians not directly involved in the LNG business. We can already see how the BC Liberals have screwed up public power. It’s insane to let them move onto giving away another top native economic resource, natural gas. And all of this goes beyond the environmental issues of fracking pollution, unnecessary worldwide greenhouse gas increases, etc. that will accompany this BC economic boondoggle. Borrowing from a theme of decades ago, Christy Clark seems quite content to see British Columbians threatened with the spectre of “freezing in the dark”.

–Doug Morrison, Garibaldi Highlands

No, and for many reasons. The most important is the unimaginable amounts of water needed for the “fracking” process, that will be rendered toxic forever. Where will all that waste be stored? Underground and forgotten? No! I believe that the industry should be forced to figure out a way to release the N.G differently. Figure it out, the gas ain’t going nowhere fast while still in the ground. Besides, listening to the experts; it’s all a “pipe” dream right now. And a very expensive one with no redeeming qualities.

–Doug Marsden, Vancouver

A conditional yes provided all of the environmental and fiscal safeguards are ensured.

–Balwant Sanghera , Richmond

yes I do and the sooner the better..and I’m also for the pipelines to transport oil..much safer then shipping it by rail..

–Mary Hale, Merritt

How did this even become a question? A steady and balanced development of OUR resources is critical to Canada ‘s socio-economic security and well-being- “git ‘er done!”

–Fred Hawkshaw

Yes. It’ll provide jobs for a huge range of people living in BC. I’m confident that we can protect the environment at the same time we keep the economy growing. The alternative is to continue keeping northern residents on welfare. That is self destructive.

–Gary Mauser, Coqyuitlam

How can you not support it, we need the money it will bring into the province. I am sure that “Victoria” will do it’s damndest to screw the deal up so that get their personnel cut out of it but let’s hope there is enough left over for the rest of us to get some also.

–Bud March, 100 Mile

Supporting the development of B.C.’s liquefied natural gas is not the wave of the future. We need to spend our dollars on renewable energy, preferably solar power which would not add to our carbon footprint.

–Rita Pollock, Coquitlam

I`m against the Tar Sands and Northern Pipeline so I`m not going to be a hypocrite and support the push by our province`s push to develop a liquefied natural gas industry. And for the same reason that we should not be damaging our environment to improve China`s. The math being thrown around by the PR people that liquefied gas from our province would help to reduce China`s dependence on coal just doesn`t add up. Not when a reduction in green-house gases there is offset by just five liquefied gas plants here producing massive amounts in emissions themselves. Andrew Weaver, the lone Green MLA in Victoria, said it best recently about how our own carbon emission targets will have to be thrown out the window for the possibility that emissions in China might go down. `Forget the laws. Forget the rhetoric. The science says it`s impossible. We`ll be throwing away the certainty of our own climate targets for the possibility of theirs.`

–Robert T. Rock

Yes I do agree as it gives jobs locally and IF it is marketed by Canadians locally and overseas.

–Laszlo Novotny, Vancouver

I support any industrial development that makes sense, including pipelines and LNG. While I don’t follow the LNG debate fully, I read enough to have some doubts if there aren’t too many suppliers getting into the game and flood the market. This means of course prices for the gas will go down. However, since BC is not the main supplier of the gas we can only profit from the construction and operation without having any real risk. So yes: I am all for it!

–Eberhard Bergler, Burnaby

NO I don’t ! Premier Christy Clark and laughing gas henchman MLA Rich Coleman are smoking some kind of pipe that place’s them in a dream world ! I venture to say that by the time the next election rolls around and if by chance the Liberals are defeated the 150 year supply of Liberal natural gas will still linger behind the behind of the Liberals as they rush to buy shares of Gas-X ! I believe there will be a world turn over in population as continued fracking – drilling and mining of Mother Earth will eventually create an implosion creating a sink-hole in her belly that will make greedy man wish he indeed had lived on the moon ? A tune that would of suited Jerry lee Louis could of been “There’s a whole lot of Fracking goin on”?

–Tom Isherwood, Olalla

Christie Clark will do what she wants… weather or not any of us support it!

–Madelaine Lawson, Canoe

Absolutely! Northeastern BC is a huge source of tax revenues and jobs for the rest of Canada. Living up here I find that less than half the population are locals. Most of the people living up here are transplanted from elsewhere… including me. As a Nova Scotian so eloquently put it to me one day “They don’t pay us what we’re worth back home”.

–Michael C. Lee, Fort St. John

I do not. Either the government will have to shell out billions of dollars we don’t have, or totally subject themselves to the whims of the petro-industry. Canada has about 3% of the known world gas reserves. Russia has about 28%. We need pipelines, pumping stations, a refinery to liquefy the gas, a sea terminal and a trip across the Pacific Ocean to our market: China. On the other hand Russia is only a pipeline away from that market. Short of selling ourselves out to the Chinese we may be left holding the bag if prospective importers find cheaper gas elsewhere. I suggest we conserve our resources and slowly consume them here in North America. The future is a long time coming and we may need the resources ourselves down the road.

–Cecil Michaels, Powell River

Considering the risk of fracking associated with the processing of liquified natural gas, I would withhold my support for the devellopment of the LNG industry, until the B.C. government demanded considerably higher royalties from the LNG producing companies in question.

–Carl Johnson, Delta

Definitely no. We eventually will be in short supply ourselves so why should be give it away now. Let’s think about the future. Enough giving away our raw resources. Bad enough that we are sending unrefined oil overseas whereas we should be manufacturing finished products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc. and employing our own people in our own refineries. Raw logs are being shipped overseas by the boat load whereas we should and could be manufacturing the finished lumber etc and employing our own people instead of supplying overseas sawmills. And the list goes on and on with many of our raw resources.

–Mickey Nazarov, Castlegar

Absolutely NOT! Interesting don’t you think that a Mine owner/operator refused to have an LNG project in his municipality? I read this only a week ago. Where is the water going to come from to do this? Even if they used salt water, the tailings have to be disposed of? WHERE? would that be. Draining a beautiful lake for this in god’s country! Are you crazy? again ABSOLUTELY NOT!

–Carol Nordby, North Vancouver

I’m only in favour of the LNG project if British Columbians see benefits. If this projects creates more jobs and revenue then I don’t see a problem. We have an abundance of natural gas and I hope our government will make smart choices in selling it. I hope the government can finally benefit those that voted them into power.

–Svee Bains, Vancouver

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