The links between Petronas, fracking and Site C are becoming clear—and the news is troubling for taxpayers and our climate. British Columbians will be subsidizing the fracking industry through the construction of the Site C megadam.
B.C.’s so-called climate plan is a fraud. It borders on a criminal betrayal of the health and welfare of future generations and the natural world. A credible plan would act decisively to rapidly reduce the extraction, export and use of fossil fuels.
Federal government sides against First Nations, science, endangered species, food security
The federal government’s approval of construction permits for the $9 billion Site C megaproject is a cowardly betrayal, says Sierra Club BC.
“The federal government’s decision is an affront to First Nations and to the scientific work that proves Site C is the most destructive project ever reviewed in Canadian history,” said Sierra Club BC’s Peace Valley campaigner Ana Simeon. “Prime Minister Trudeau has said honouring First Nations rights is a ‘sacred obligation’ not an inconvenience. But this decision is a profanity that clearly views those rights as nothing more than an inconvenience to be swept aside.
“The same goes for science: yesterday’s decision continues the previous government’s appalling practice of suppressing and ignoring inconvenient findings. This is a cowardly decision and a betrayal of the principles the federal government has claimed it wants to restore to Ottawa: respect for First Nations rights and science-based decision making.”
The B.C. government will shortly reveal its climate plan, which is expected to announce plans to electrify any LNG plants that are built. This will make Site C a climate disaster, enabling the export of massive emissions to Asia.
“We all share the same atmosphere and whether LNG is burned here or overseas it will have the same catastrophic effects on our climate,” said Simeon. “Ottawa will soon announce its decision whether or not to approve the Petronas plant in Prince Rupert. It’s another watershed moment for Trudeau. In combination, greenlighting Site C and Petronas would be a crime against our climate and against Canada’s second largest salmon run.
“This is not the end of the fight. Donate now so that Sierra Club BC can pursue all possible peaceful, legal avenues to stop Site C.”
In May Sierra Club BC launched a letter writing campaign encouraging Prime Minister Trudeau to reject the Petronas liquefied fracked gas terminal at Lelu Island. Over 11,000 supporters took the time to write to the Prime Minister to make it clear that he must say no to the project.
At the peak of this campaign, his office was receiving 1200 letters a day from concerned citizens. More than 350 people followed up their letters with a phone call to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to let her know the many reasons we don’t want the liquefied fracked gas plant built:
- It threatens to destroy Canada’s second largest salmon run.
- It runs the risk of wiping out the wild salmon economy of northern B.C. that is worth more than $110 million per year.
- It would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions five times the official reported emissions for all of B.C.
Prime Minister Trudeau is going to decide whether to approve the Petronas project in the fall. This is Trudeau’s watershed moment and the first real test of his commitment to climate action. Will he side with the salmon and a liveable climate? Or will he side with foreign multinationals who just see B.C. as a place to exploit for profit?
Before he makes that decision we have to leave him in no doubt that British Columbians are firmly opposed to the fracked gas terminal at Lelu Island.
We have plans to push that point home hard, but we need your help now to reach out to more British Columbians. Your donation will help us to encourage more and more people to raise their voices and speak out every day until the decision comes down. We must not give up!
Your gift of $200 helps us reach 3000 new people, $125 reaches 1000 new people, $35 reaches 100 new people.
If you haven’t sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, please take action today.
All the scientific evidence shows that building liquefied fracked gas plants—what the industry brands as “natural” gas—will spread a destructive web of pipelines, plants, fracking sites, compressor stations, and work camps across British Columbia.
Consider the proposal by Malaysian multinational Petronas to build a plant near Prince Rupert. It would threaten to wipe out Canada’s second largest salmon run, would be disastrous for our climate, and would trample over First Nations opposition.
Located at the mouth of the Skeena River, this plant would be catastrophic for Canada’s second largest salmon run. Up to a billion juvenile salmon depend on the eel grass beds of Flora Bank as they migrate from the freshwater of the Skeena to the salt water of the Pacific. Destroying this critical habitat would mean the end of the salmon and the thousands of northern jobs that depend on the $110 million wild salmon economy.
B.C.’s official greenhouse gas emissions total 64 million tonnes per year. The Petronas liquefied fracked gas plant would be a carbon bomb, responsible for an astonishing 265 million tonnes per year. One plant: five times the emissions from every vehicle, building, and factory in B.C.! It would make it impossible for B.C. to meet its current (inadequate) emissions targets.
Now think about the impact if five of the 20 proposed plants were built.
Other environmental impacts from an expanded industry include groundwater contamination, forest fragmentation, fracking-induced earthquakes, and increased marine traffic.
And let’s not forget that these plants are built to operate for 30, 40 or 50 years. With the Paris climate agreements, the world will increasingly turn its back on fossil fuels. As former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has pointed out, fossil fuel deposits such as methane and the tarsands threaten to become stranded assets and the massive infrastructure investments needed to get them to market become worthless relics, taking jobs and potentially whole communities with them.
These plants are simply bad economics. British Columbia should be putting its resources toward renewable energy and transitioning to a post-carbon economy.
Any day now Prime Minister Trudeau will decide whether to approve or reject the Petronas proposal. It’s his watershed moment and the first big test of the climate promises that helped get him elected.
There’s still time to influence his decision. Sign the petition demanding that he say no to Petronas, and yes to wild salmon, sustainable jobs, respect for First Nations and a livable climate.
On Earth Day, Canada signed on to the Paris climate agreement, committing our country to 1.5-2C of global warming. Climate and energy campaigner Larissa Stendie warns that this gesture is nothing more than symbolic. The federal government must stop pursuing pipelines and fracked gas if it wants to be the climate leader it purports to be.
“Canada’s symbolic signing of the Paris climate agreements Friday was a hopeful and necessary step. Yet symbolism and rhetoric need to be followed by urgent action here at home if we are serious about avoiding a catastrophic four to six degrees Celsius of warming.
Pipelines and fracked gas are not the pathway to Paris solutions; they are the path to increased wildfires, water shortages and other increasingly unmanageable climate impacts.”
Featured image by Maureen, via Flickr.