CPAWS-BC releases new report detailing environmental impacts of proposed pipelines to BC wilderness


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 10th, 2014

LNG development threatens B.C.’s wilderness: New report details potential environmental impacts of proposed pipelines


Vancouver, B.C. – A report released today by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC) outlines the potential impacts of proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines in northern B.C. on wilderness values. The new report, Gas Gone Wild, finds that the potential for negative landscape-level impacts is significant, and points to the need for a ”big picture” assessment of all potential impacts before proceeding  with any one project.

“The province intends to construct at least five LNG pipelines, requiring the clearing of hundreds of kilometres of new rights-of-way, with serious impacts to wildlife such as grizzly bears and caribou,” says Peter Wood, Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, CPAWS-BC. “This is in addition to the impacts of thousands of additional fracking wells that will be required to get the gas to feed these pipelines.”

Some of the impacts highlighted in the report include fragmentation of habitat for a quarter of BC’s grizzly bears and 1,500 woodland caribou; over 100,000 hectares of intact forest affected; and 30 parks and protected areas placed at risk. Biodiversity, ecological integrity and connectivity between protected areas and intact forests all stand to be adversely impacted by these proposed pipelines.

The report warns that if these pipelines and their associated export facilities are built in the absence of a thorough assessment, the province could get locked into a series of detrimental impacts that far outweigh the potential economic benefits of the projects.

“There’s a certain ‘wild west’ mentality at play regarding LNG in B.C. these days, and we run the risk of rushing into approving projects without fully understanding the total impact that they will have,” says Wood. “Right now, we have a window of opportunity to take a more strategic approach, and engage local communities in a single consultation process, instead of making them participate in many separate processes.”

CPAWS-BC is one of many groups calling on the provincial government to conduct a Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment for LNG, to ensure that northern B.C.’s spectacular wilderness areas, which clean our air and water and sustain wildlife and local communities, are maintained in perpetuity.

“Recently we have seen LNG companies driving a hard bargain, demanding lower environmental standards, reduced taxation, and fewer local employment requirements,” says Wood.

“It’s up to the province to look out for B.C.’s best interests, and the way to do it is through a Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment. A recent poll has revealed that less than a third of British Columbians trust the B.C. government when it comes to decisions surrounding LNG. Such an assessment would go a long way to restoring their faith,” adds Wood.

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View full report at:  www.cpawsbc.org/upload/lng-report-2014.pdf

Contact:
Peter Wood, Terrestrial Campaigns Director, CPAWS-BC
Tel: +1 604 685 7445 Ext. 22
Cell: +1 604 761 3075
peter@cpawsbc.org

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963 we’ve led in creating over two-thirds of Canada’s protected areas. That amounts to about half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. As a national charity with 13 chapters, 55,000 supporters and hundreds of volunteers, CPAWS works collaboratively with governments, local communities, industry and indigenous peoples to protect our country’s amazing natural places.


Background information:

BC LNG Info: A joint effort of Northwest Institute, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, and Headwaters Initiative, this site provides up-to-date information regarding proposed LNG projects. http://bclnginfo.com
Organizing for Change (OFC):  CPAWS-BC is part of OFC, a group of leading BC environmental organizations. OFC is calling for a Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment for LNG in BC. http://organizingforchange.org/our-priorities/LNG-big-picture

UBCM:  In September 2014 the Union of BC Municipalities called for the Province to engage with First Nations to convene and co-chair a strategic economic and environmental impact assessment of LNG development in British Columbia.  http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/resolutions/resolutions/resolutions-responses.html

Finance Committee:  In 2013, the B.C. Select Standing Committee on Finance recommended that the Province “Consider a strategic, cumulative environmental assessment of LNG projects in northwest BC” (Recommendation 11). 
http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/40thparl/session-1/fgs/reports/pdf/rpt-fgs-40-1-1strpt-budget2014consultations-2013-nov-14.pdf

Poll on LNG:  In a recent poll, more than three quarters of B.C. residents (78%) indicated that the province needs to know more about how LNG is extracted to make an informed decision. Only 28% of respondents said they trust the provincial government to properly handle decisions related to LNG. http://www.insightswest.com/news/domestic-energy-needs-a-priority-for-albertans-british-columbians/