Green Myths Canada’s LNG Sales Force Tells the World

No, methane’s no fix for global coal-fired energy. Here’s why.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan shake hands as LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz, back right, watches during a news conference in October 2018. Photo by Darryl Dyck, the Canadian Press.

Dave Nikolejsin, deputy minister of the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, for example, flew to Japan last September along with members of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources.

There they tried to impress upon the Japanese attendees “the role of Canadian LNG in meeting global climate policy objectives and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.”

The pitch goes like this: According to LNG Canada, the big Shell project now under construction in northern B.C., could replace 20 to 40 coal-fired plants in countries like China and India with Canadian methane, and reduce their emissions by 60 to 90 million tonnes.

That’s impressive, says LNG Canada, because 90 million tons equals about 80 per cent of Canada’s car pollution. Or all of B.C.’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, Darren Gee, president and CEO of Peyto Exploration, which fracks for gas in B.C., believes Canada has a “moral obligation to provide the rest of the world with the country’s clean, responsibly-developed energy to improve lives and preserve the environment.”

And so, while the blockaders of northern B.C.’s LNG Canada pipeline await police eviction while claiming to stand up for Indigenous sovereignty and climate protection, backers of the project lay claim to their own moral high ground.

Such claims are problematic, if not false. The best evidence to date reveals two quite inconvenient truths.

One, B.C.’s LNG is not cleaner than coal, due to leakage rates in our fracked shale fields of three per cent.

Two, there is no guarantee that China will use Canadian gas to actually displace coal power production, given that coal-fired plants already operate as efficiently as methane-fueled ones.

Let’s take those in order.

1. Leaky LNG actually poses a bigger climate threat than coal

It’s true that LNG burns cleaner than coal, but when unburned and released into the atmosphere it is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in the short term. Methane’s warming effect is 87 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, and 36 times greater over a 100-year period.

And thanks to fracking, a lot of LNG does escape unburned into the atmosphere, the amount accelerating in recent years due to venting, flaring, leaks, spills and other factors tied to the drilling method.

Methane emissions rose in the last two decades of the 20th century and then stabilized in the first decade of 21st century. But between 2008 and 2014 — at the height of the fracking boom — methane levels climbed from 570 billions tons to 595 billion tonnes annually.

Robert Howarth, a professor at Cornell University, recently calculated that one-third of total rising global methane emissions came from one source, “the commercialization of shale gas and oil in the 21st century.”

If you want to slow global warming immediately, Howarth recommends, “the best strategy is to move as quickly as possible away from natural gas, reducing both carbon dioxide and methane emissions.”

Meanwhile the industry’s supply chain has developed a multi-billion-dollar methane leakage problem.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the industry annually flares off more than five trillion cubic feet of methane, or several billions of dollars worth, mostly as waste from fracked oil fields.

Last year, satellite imagery discovered that just one major well methane blow-out at a well site in Ohio released more methane into the atmosphere than several European countries over a 20-day period. Well blow-outs happen in Alberta and B.C. too.

According to Environmental Defence Fund, which has carefully studied methane leakage in conjunction with industry experts for years, three per cent of the methane produced at shale gas fields leak and destabilize the atmosphere. “The potency of those emissions make natural gas from these sites worse than U.S. coal in terms of its impact on climate change.”

Analysts note that if industry kept this leakage rates below one per cent, it could argue that methane is cleaner than coal. But to date they haven’t.

Canada’s conventional and shale gas industry has long under reported its so-called “fugitive emissions.” They occur at well sites, tanks, compressor stations, gas processing plants and pipelines — the whole supply chain feeding liquified natural gas.

One significant 2018 study measured methane leaks at 60 oil and gas sites near Red Deer, Alberta. It found emissions at ground level were 15 times higher than industry reported to regulators and Canada’s national inventory for tracking methane emissions.

A recent paper on the state of leaking wells in British Columbia also emphasized that under-reporting was a major problem. It estimated that 10 per cent (2329 wells) of the province’s 21,000 wells tested for leakage spew about 75,000 tonnes of methane a year. “However, this number is likely higher due to underreporting.”

The study explains that reporting of wellbore leakage in B.C. only goes as far back as 1995, and there is currently no requirement to test for leaks at the province’s nearly 6,000 abandoned wells. “In Canada, there is no requirement to monitor wells for leakage following their abandonment, despite the fact that gas leakage from abandoned wells in the province is a well-documented phenomenon.”

Even the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a pro-industry group, has aptly summed up the problem of extensive methane leakage from industry: “There is a consensus about a knowledge gap in the amount of methane emitted from the natural gas supply chain.”

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The LNG Canada project under construction near Kitimat, B.C. The province’s LNG is not in fact cleaner than coal, due to leakage rates in our fracked shale fields. Photo by Robin Rowland, the Canadian Press.

2. There is no guarantee LNG will ‘replace’ Asia’s coal burning

But what about industry’s claim that Canada’s clean LNG will replace dirty coal-fired power in China and India?

That doesn’t conform with reality. Recent Canadian research on Chinese household behaviour illustrates why.

Chinese homeowners adopted new clean stoves but kept their coal and wood stoves working too. Canadian researchers noted that “Efforts made by governments, NGOs, and researchers to incentivize households to switch entirely to clean fuel stoves and give up their traditional stoves — even in highly controlled randomized trials — have largely failed.”

In fact, people rarely substitute energy sources because they prefer to augment them and thereby use more energy. In all likelihood LNG imports would end up just supplementing energy demand.

In fact, a major component of China’s climate plan has nothing to do with methane. It encourages replacing inefficient, older coal plants with ultra-efficient ones.

David Hughes, one of Canada’s foremost energy analysts, recently did the math on life cycle methane emissions from B.C. LNG and new coal plants in China. He found that “best-technology coal would have 19.2 per cent fewer emissions at 20 years than B.C. LNG.”

In other words, “B.C. LNG used to generate electricity in China compared to best-technology coal would increase global emissions, thereby exacerbating an already extremely serious climate problem.”

Don’t expect to hear any of this if you’re in the audience when Canada’s virtue-signalling LNG boosters make their pitch. SOURCE

Coastal GasLink posts injunction order giving opponents 72-hours to clear way toward its work site in B.C.

Na’moks, centre, a spokesman for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, speaks during a news conference in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 7, 2020. The order stamped Tuesday by the B.C. Supreme Court registry addresses members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and supporters who say the project has no authority without consent from the five hereditary clan chiefs.

A natural gas pipeline company has posted an injunction order giving opponents 72 hours to clear the way toward its work site in northern British Columbia, although the company says its focus remains finding a peaceful resolution that avoids enforcement.

The order stamped Tuesday by the B.C. Supreme Court registry addresses members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and supporters who say the Coastal GasLink project has no authority without consent from the five hereditary clan chiefs.

It comes one year after the RCMP’s enforcement of a similar injunction along the same road sparked rallies across Canada in support of Indigenous rights and raised questions about land claims.

The order requires the defendants to remove any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.

If they don’t remove the obstructions themselves, the court says the company is at liberty to remove them.

It gives authorization to the RCMP to arrest and remove anyone police have “reasonable or probable grounds” to believe has knowledge of the order and is contravening it.

“The police retain discretion as to timing and manner of enforcement of this order,” it says.

Coastal GasLink, however, says posting the order was procedural and the company has no plans to request police action.

The B.C. Supreme Court granted an injunction to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 31. The order stamped Tuesday provides details of the court injunction.

Previous injunction and enforcement orders remained in effect until the new order was issued, Coastal GasLink spokeswoman Suzanne Wilton said.

Obstructing access was already prohibited under the previous orders and they also included enforcement provisions.

“We continue to believe that dialogue is preferable to confrontation while engagement and a negotiated resolution remain possible,” Wilton said in an email.

The company declined an interview request.

The order does not apply to a metal gate on the west side of a bridge outside the Unist’ot’en camp, unless it is used to prevent or impede the workers’ access.

Hereditary chiefs negotiated last year with the RCMP for the gate to remain outside the camp, which is home to some members of one of the First Nation’s 13 house groups, so long as it would not be used to prevent workers from accessing the work site.

Fourteen people were arrested by police officers at a checkpoint constructed along the road leading to both the Unist’ot’en camp and the Coastal GasLink work site on Jan. 7, 2019.

The company has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along the 670-kilometre pipeline route, but the five Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs say no one can access the land without their consent.

The pipeline is part of the $40-billion LNG Canada project that will export Canadian natural gas to Asian markets.

Coastal GasLink shared photos Tuesday of what it says are more than 100 trees that have been felled across the logging road.

The RCMP said its officers came across the fallen trees on Monday as they were conducting regular safety patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road. In a statement, the RCMP said some trees along the road are a safety hazard because they were partly cut and the wind could cause them to fall without warning.

Police say they also found three stacks of tires covered by tarps and trees, which contained several jugs of gasoline, diesel, oil, kindling and bags of fuel-soaked rags.

The RCMP say the hereditary chiefs were advised of what was found and have been told police are conducting a criminal investigation over traps that are likely to cause bodily harm.

“We want to emphasize that we are impartial in this dispute and our priority is to facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders involved,” the Mounties said. “We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in a resolution.”

At a news conference Tuesday, hereditary chief Na’moks called for construction to cease and for the B.C. government to revoke the company’s permits.

He said the Wet’suwet’en felled the trees to protect their own safety.

Members of the Gidimt’en, one of five Wet’suwet’en clans, and supporters reoccupied the area along the logging road in April near the site where the injunction was enforced last year.

Jen Wickham says her fellow members are concerned that it could be enforced before the 72 hours is up, since a previous injunction was already in place.

Lawyer Michael Lee Ross, who represents the Wet’suwet’en members named in the injunction, said once the new injunction order was stamped, the previous one became a historic document.

However, he said the RCMP could step in at any time if they find reason to.

Ross said his clients are discussing a possible appeal of the order.

“A challenge of an order is normally a challenge of the legal basis on which the order is grounded. So that is one of the avenues that is still open to them,” he said Wednesday.

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Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs held a press conference calling for construction to cease and for permits to be suspended on the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Spokesman Na’moks says the First Nation won’t meet with industry representatives, only “decision makers” like the provincial and federal governments.

PLAY THE VIDEO


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Greta’s in B.C. How does our climate pollution compare to Sweden’s?


Flags of British Columbia and Sweden (credit Wikipedia) and file photo of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg by Josie Desmarais

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am sixteen years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations.” – speech to U.K. House of Parliament, London, April 23, 2019

Swedish climate striker Greta Thunberg has travelled a long, slow, low-carbon way to bring her message of climate urgency to British Columbia.

In the spirit of cultural exchange, I decided to learn what I could about Sweden’s own climate emissions and efforts. So if you, too, are interested in how our two northern jurisdictions compare on climate pollution, you’re in luck. I waded through a fat pile of reports and spreadsheets to put together five comparison charts and the stories behind them.

Pollution Down. Pollution Up.

Let’s start with annual emissions. My first chart shows the big picture.

Climate pollution from 1990 to 2017 for Sweden and BC

Back in 1990, Sweden dumped a lot more climate pollution than B.C. did. Fifteen million tonnes (15 MtCO2) more.

But, since then, the Swedes have slashed their emissions by a quarter.

B.C. has pumped it up.

As a result, we’ve traded places. B.C. now emits a lot more climate pollution than Sweden.

I’ve also included B.C.’s 2020 climate target on the chart as a dotted circle. (It sits at 23 per cent below our 1990 emissions level.)

Sweden has already cut even deeper than that, reducing emissions 26 per cent below their 1990 level.

It is clearly possible for wealthy northerners to achieve the pollution we promised. Heck, the U.K. has managed to pull off a 41 per cent reduction since 1990.

Greta: “A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to. Every single person counts. Just like every single emission counts. Every single kilo. Everything counts. So please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future. Our lives are in your hands.” – speech to Stockholm Climate March, Sept. 8, 2018

Person by person

Greta: “The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty.”  speech to the World Economic Forum, Davos, Jan. 25, 2019

Next, let’s look at the amount of climate pollution emitted per person.

Climate pollution per capita in 2017 for Sweden and BC

Sweden is home to more than twice as many people as British Columbia. And as my second chart shows, the average Swede emits a little over five tonnes of climate pollution (tCO2) each year.

That’s one tonne less than the global average.

British Columbians, in contrast, emit more than double the global average.

Why are Swedes polluting so much less? To look for clues I dug deeper to find the emissions that each sector of the economy causes.

Two things jump out for me.

First, you can see that transportation is by far British Columbia’s biggest source of climate pollution. So big, in fact, that our per capita transportation emissions exceed the Swedes footprint for everything. We’ll take a look two of the biggest transportation problems — driving and flying — below.

The second thing that jumps out at me is the pollution from B.C.’s oil and gas industry, shown at the top of the bar. The industry alone emits 2.6 tCO2 per British Columbian. That’s half Sweden’s total.

And now the oil and gas industry is poised to double its climate pollution in B.C. if they build just two of their currently planned LNG projects: LNG Canada and Kitimat LNG.

Those two examples just scratch the surface of what we could learn from studying the emissions of Sweden and most other European nations. If you want to explore more, the official greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for Sweden, and for most other major nations, are here. And like Greta’s speeches, Sweden’s report is, very helpfully, in English. MORE

Ecocide Law places Canadian politicians in jeopardy

“I began to realise that rights in isolation are not enough. If you have rights, there are corresponding duties and obligations – it’s like two sides of the coin. And what gives enforcement to your rights are the responsibilities that are put in place in criminal law.”— Polly Higgins

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Polly Higgins, Earth’s lawyer, focused on making Ecocide the fifth crime against peace under the jurisdiction of  the International Criminal Court by 2020. Her untimely death has energized her followers to realize this goal.

Polly’s Ecocide act gives primacy of jurisdiction over national governments’ law. It also removes the defence of intent. Whether the intent of an action is to avoid ecocide is irrelevant.  The test is whether the principal actor knew or should have known that their actions would result in Ecocide.

The Ecocide Act focuses on bringing those with principal responsibility for acts of Ecocide, be they corporate directors, politicians, financiers, insurers or individuals, to justice for the destruction of our Earth. 

Several Canadian politicians could find themselves charged under this law.

Here are some possible future headlines: 

The International Criminal Court  charges Justin Trudeau with Ecocide

Image result for justin trudeau The Alberta tar sands and Ecocide are virtually synonymous. Using public money, Justin Trudeau has heavily subsidized  tar sands producers, ignoring the IPCC’s call to reduce climate-destroying emissions; he has encouraged the rapid  exploitation and expansion of Canada’s largest sacrifice zone; he has allowed the development of vast, toxic tailings ponds, ignoring their environmental legacy and threat to humanity and future generations; he has used public resources to buy a pipeline to triple tar sands bitumen transportation to offshore markets.

Trudeau’s defense,  that he was always protecting Canadian jobs, would be dismissed as irrelevant.

The International Criminal Court  charges Andrew Scheer with Ecocide

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Andrew Scheer is vulnerable to charges because he argues that Trudeau’s efforts to develop and exploit the tar sands are not happening fast enough. As a cheerleader for tar sands development as the lynchpin of the Canadian economy, Scheer would find himself vulnerable.

The International Criminal Court  charges Jason Kenney  with Ecocide

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Jason Kenney’s boosterism of the Alberta tar sands puts him in legal jeopardy. His oil and gas subsidies, his removal of environmental safeguards, and the support for fracked natural gas with its huge environmental footprint and  its serious contamination of water, all can be cited as evidence of his willingness to prioritize Alberta’s economy over his duty to protect the public’s right to a healthy environment. 

The International Criminal Court  charges John Horgan with Ecocide

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Allowing construction to continue on the Site C Dam and the flooding of rich farmland to provide cheap electricity to carbon intensive natural gas fracking operations cannot reconciled with Horgan’s duty to protect the environment.  John Horgan has offered subsidies and tax breaks to B.C.’s single largest carbon polluter, LNG Canada.  LNG development is notoriously carbon intensive. The LNG Canada project would emit 8.6 megatonnes of carbon per year in 2030, rising to 9.6 megatonnes in 2050. Fracking is associated with massive water use (the average frack uses between five million and 100 million litres of water), radioactive waste, earthquakes, dangerous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Health impacts were removed from the purview of the scientific panel tasked with reviewing fracking.  His support for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline development on Wet’suwet’en territory continues to ignore First Nations’ rights and their opposition.


Declare yourself an Earth Protector on the website here.

Benefits agreement asks First Nation to discourage members from hindering B.C. pipeline project

‘No municipality would be allowed to sign off on such civil restrictions,’ says band member


A man stands at a Coastal GasLink worksite in February 2018. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

Community members and legal experts are concerned about provisions in a signed benefit agreement between a B.C. First Nation and a pipeline company that asks leadership to dissuade their community members from speaking out against the project.

The specific provision appears in a leaked benefits agreement between Nak’azdli Whut’en, a First Nation located roughly two hours northwest of Prince George, and TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline will transport natural gas along a 670-kilometre route, from northeastern B.C. to a yet-to-be-constructed liquefied natural gas facility on the coast in Kitimat. The pipeline is a key part of a larger $40-billion project being headed up by LNG Canada that aims to open Canada up to the growing global LNG market.

Coastal GasLink often promotes the fact it has signed agreements with the elected leadership of 20 First Nations along the proposed pipeline route as evidence of support for its project.

But the specifics of these individual agreements have been kept out of the public eye.

“We’re just in the way — like the spotted owl or the caribou. I have no idea how somebody could put that in writing. No municipality would be allowed to sign off on such civil restrictions.”

Among the benefits to Nak’azdli in the leaked agreement are education and training, contracting and employment opportunities, annual legacy payments over the lifetime of the pipeline, and “general project payments” to be paid in three instalments.

But there’s also a condition that the band will “take all reasonable actions” to dissuade its members from doing anything that could “impede, hinder, frustrate, delay, stop or interfere with the project, the project’s contractors, any authorizations or any approval process.” MORE

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‘Deliberate extinction’: extensive clear-cuts, gas pipeline approved in endangered caribou habitat

Scientists warn another B.C. caribou herd could disappear as the provincial government approves 78 new logging cutblocks in critical habitat for the Hart Ranges herd, while construction of a pipeline for LNG industry takes out another chunk of boreal forest

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Standing near the summit of a clear-cut mountain in B.C.’s interior, overlooking the brown and emerald green Anzac River valley, scientist Dominick DellaSala has a bird’s eye view of why the Hart Ranges caribou herd is at risk of extinction.

Only a fringe of forest remains around the distant mountain peak where the declining herd seeks protection from wolves and other predators in ever-shrinking habitat northeast of Prince George.

“The difference between this and Borneo is that there aren’t any orangutans behind me,” says DellaSala, pointing to extensive clear cuts covering much of the mountain side.

“You’ve got caribou at upper elevations. That’s their habitat out there. And they’re being squished to the top of the tallest mountains because all the habitat’s been taken out down below. The species is migratory, it goes up and down.”

DellaSala, chief scientist and president of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, is touring parts of B.C.’s ancient inland temperate rainforest as part of an Australian-led study documenting the world’s most important unlogged forests.

Scientist Dominick DellaSalaScientist Dominick DellaSala stands at the fringe of a clear-cut in B.C.’s interior. DellaSala, who has studied forests and logging in countries such as Brazil and Borneo, describes clear-cutting in B.C.’s northern forests as some of the worst he’s ever seen. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

The rare inland rainforest, with cedar trees more than 1,000 years old, is part of an ecosystem called the interior wet belt that includes the Anzac valley bottom, a hodgepodge of green far below where DellaSala stands with Michelle Connolly, director of the Prince George-based organization Conservation North.

But there will soon be significantly less green in the lower reaches of the Anzac valley, whose old-growth spruce and subalpine fir trees are draped in hair lichen, a crucial winter food for caribou.

Since October, the B.C. government has granted approval to forestry giant Canfor for six new logging cutblocks in the valley, according to Geoff Senichenko, research and mapping coordinator for the Wilderness Committee. The cutblocks total 332 hectares, making them a little smaller than Vancouver’s Stanley Park in size.

Those permits are among 78 logging cutblocks the government approved over the same period in the Hart Ranges herd critical habitat, with 62 of them going to Canfor, Senichenko’s research shows.

“This seals the caribou’s fate,” says Connolly, a forest ecologist.

Caribou were given a very small amount of habitat,” Connolly says. “It’s not enough … There’s very little chance of that habitat recovering in those cut blocks below the tops of the mountains, and therefore of those areas serving caribou the way they used to.”

The Hart Ranges caribou herd also faces another new threat: the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will transport fracked gas from the province’s northeast to Kitimat, where it will be liquefied by LNG Canada and shipped overseas. MORE

 

B.C. government quietly posts response to expert fracking report

Province avoids investigation of human health impacts of fracking, despite independent scientific review warning of unknown risks to air and water

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A fracking well head connected to fracking pumps. B.C.’s northeast is going to see a fracking boom to support the LNG Canada natural gas export terminal. Photo: Shutterstock

The B.C. government has quietly released its response to an independent scientific panel’s report on hydraulic fracturing as it ushers in a fracking boom to supply the LNG Canada project with unconventional gas.

Notably absent from the government’s news release — posted on its website Thursday but strangely not sent out to media — is any commitment to investigate the human health impacts of fracking in the province’s northeast.

The issue was flagged by Dawson Creek doctors as a potential cause for concern after they saw patients with symptoms they could not explain, including nosebleeds, respiratory illnesses and rare cancers, as well as a surprising number of gioblastomas, a malignant brain cancer.

The independent scientific review did not include an examination of the public health implications of fracking, in keeping with the government’s quiet assurance to the industry lobby group Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that the hot button issue would not be included in the panel’s mandate.

Even so, the panel found that fracking entails numerous unknown risks to human health and the environment.

Panel members cautioned the severity of those risks is unknown due to a lack of data, noting they were not aware of any health-related studies being conducted in northeast B.C., which is already covered with thousands of fracking wells, including in the middle of communities and on farmland.

‘Highly toxic compounds’

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Sonia Furstenau, MLA Cowichan Valley for the BC Green Party.

B.C. Green Party environment critic Sonia Furstenau pointed out that other jurisdictions around the world have identified human health impacts as a reason for banning fracking.

“We know that the mix of chemicals being used and being pumped into the ground include highly toxic compounds and we should absolutely be determining what any impacts are to human health,” Furstenau told The Narwhal.

“There’s no way these kinds of things should be proceeding without that information.”

The government’s decision to proceed with fracking and liquefied natural gas development is “deeply troubling,” Furstenau said.

The fracked gas will be shipped through TransCanada’s new Coastal GasLink pipeline to Kitimat, where it will be cooled in massive compressors to minus 162 degrees Celsius, the point at which gas turns into liquid and becomes easier to transport in ocean tankers. LNG Canada will burn its own natural gas for the energy-intensive compression process, resulting in substantial greenhouse gas pollution.

The LNG Canada project will emit 3.45 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the provincial government, which promised the cleanest LNG in the world even though claims of “clean LNG” have been thoroughly debunked. MORE

Oil and Gas: Top Trends and Transactions of 2018

This is an excellent summary of the major events in the oil and gas industry in Canada.

2018 was a rollercoaster year for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Below is a summary of our top trends and transactions for 2018:

Trans Mountain Acquisition by the Federal Government

With the cancellation of Northern Gateway and Energy East, and continued uncertainty around Keystone XL, the industry turned to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline as its best hope to establish access to tidewater for the growing Canadian oil production.

Trans Mountain was a lightning rod in the Lower Mainland, inspiring pro- and anti-pipeline protests and strong statements from First Nations both supporting and opposing the expansion. In the face of heavy BC Government opposition, the project proponent, Kinder Morgan, announced that it would cease work on the project; prompting the Government of Canada to step in and acquire the entire Trans Mountain project for $4.5 billion.

In an unexpected twist, a day before the closing of the acquisition the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the National Energy Board (“NEB”) approval of the project, and required that additional work be undertaken with respect to First Nations consultation and marine effects of the proposed expansion. The NEB is required to complete its reconsideration process and issue its new resulting report no later than February 22, 2019. MORE

B.C. chiefs gather in Smithers to support Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

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Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said she was planning to attend the meeting and other members of the group had already flown to Smithers.  (JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia are holding a gathering of solidarity on Wednesday that is expected to attract Indigenous leaders from across British Columbia.

…the difficulty that the hereditary chiefs have had in getting their authority recognized by industry and government is familiar.

Elected band councils are based on a colonial model of governance, she said. Under the tradition of her Secwepemc First Nation in the B.C. Interior, title belongs to all of the people within the nation.

“Collectively, people hold title for our nation.” MORE