See the ‘Big Picture’ on Woodfibre LNG

G.-Elijah-DannBy G.Elijah Dann
Published: Aug 4, 2014

 

 

When you hear the words “Woodfibre LNG,” think the big picture. Think Climate Change.

Two million people forced to flee their homes in Pakistan because of a second megaflood in 2011. Two million people affected with economic losses, estimated at $1.5 billion, in Beijing’s record-breaking floods of 2012.

As other countries have been ravaged by climate change in the last decade – so easy for us in Canada to ignore – scientists have argued everyone will be affected by climate change. Sooner or later.

“Sooner” is now glaring at us in the eyes.

Because of the 2013 flood, Calgary is in the process of dealing with billions of dollars worth of insured and uninsured claims. Last month’s flooding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba exceeds damages in the billion-dollar range.

Alberta and BC are trying to keep massive wild fires under control, intensified by extreme dry conditions and drought. So-called, “Tornadoes of fire” in NWT.

Potentially more destructive, the Fraser Basin Council has studied what’s coming to the Lower mainland. With a river running through it, surrounded by a rising ocean, coastal flooding is just around the bend for over 3000 small-medium sized businesses. With billions of dollar of investment and infrastructure, also related to ports, airports, and transportation lines. The river rising of 2007 was one metre away from going over the dykes.

Prepare for the consequences of climate change, to be sure. But understand the root cause: our obscene addiction to fossil fuel.

In response to daily stories of a planet in upheaval, what does our BC Premier suggest as a response? How do we face daunting disasters that’ll impact millions of more lives and economies?

For us in Squamish, we are only focused on the Woodfibre LNG facility. But we have to consider what has to take place before the product gets here:

Clear the forest for the drilling facilities; frack the earth; contaminate thousands of litres of water in the process; leak methane into the atmosphere; further rip up the earth with pipelines to transport the natural gas to the facility beside the ocean; and then likely fail getting the product to an oversaturated market.

 What will we do then?

We’ll have a peeled back province, juicing climate change in the process. With the likelihood industry will abandon us with a mess that’ll go nowhere. Sound familiar?

For Squamish, we only have one choice. Say “No” to Christy’s reckless ambitions.

Then demand the obvious: We move ahead with the rest of the world by creating an infrastructure providing renewable energy needs and jobs that are sustainable, without pushing our luck a bit more with climate change.

Retooling and refitting our structures. Tighter regulations for emissions and efficiency. And with communities leading the way in solar, wind, and water energy technologies, look to biofuel and conservation.

Squamish is changing, for the good. For now. Allow Woodfibre in Squamish – the testing ground for Christy Clark’s LNG fantasy – and she gets the green light.

But make no mistake. She wins, we all lose. Let’s be on the right side of history.

 

Comments

  1. Tatiana Kostiak says:

    Being unable or unwilling to see the ‘big picture’ is endemic of a good portion of society who has accepted ‘small’ as their only option. By ‘small’ I mean the thinking that is a result of continued oppression of greater ideas and innovation that governments and those who are heavily vested in oil and gas have been exercising for decades now. It’s what keeps some folks in a ‘survival mode’ as more power is taken away from them. If you look at the moves of the federal Conservatives and provincial Liberals (both majority governments) it’s even more difficult to imagine there is an ability of people to get in there and demand something different. This is exactly how dictatorships like it. They look after themselves and their preferred people.

    ‘Small’ keeps people living in fear and making choices that are particularly clannish..not globally considered. ‘Small’ is what has turned so many towards looking for gratification and fulfilment in the purchasing of ‘things’. Consumerism is the prevalent disease really. Feeding this disease is what is causing extraordinary growth in China. Apparently this is also why they need LNG, to get off coal. In the end the fracking, transporting, compressing and transporting again to China makes this argument for Woodfibre LNG void. There is no net benefit but we are ‘sold’ messages that would say otherwise.

    ‘Small’ is what has some people believing it makes sense to hand over our limited energy supplies to an Indonesian billionaire for, what amounts to a few pennies from his pocket as tax dollars and very limited jobs.

    Fear and desperation are never a wise place to make decisions from. We are not desperate. We need bigger changes, bold moves and leadership to take back what rightfully belongs to us as residents of Squamish, citizens of Canada.

    We need to stop Woodfibre LNG as our local bold move. Shift the thinking and others will follow. Ultimately we can ‘right’ the ‘wrongs’ but we need to have confidence in ourselves, look closely at what we ‘need’ NOT ‘want’ in terms of energy, stuff, amenities.

    I find it extraordinary that one incredibly ‘wealthy’ town with its richness in opportunities and growing acknowledgement from the world with respect this can even begin to consider itself ‘small’ and needing this proposed plant to survive. The fact that the proposal is from a single billionaire from another country tells us the distribution of ‘wealth’ is way out of whack. Why proliferate this imbalance?

    Refusing to be ‘small’, having courage and standing up for ourselves is the only way to secure a healthy, equitable future.

    Those of us against the proposal are looking at the bigger picture. Is that a luxury position? No way.

  2. Ralph Fulber says:

    There you have it, straight forward.. easily understood, not a lot of big fancy words that confuse and pretty convincing. So why do so many people simply not consider this to be anything but our future salvation? Just a hard look at the practice of fracking and the story ends there. Pile up all the other compelling reasons to scrap the whole notion of BC becoming an export LNG kingdom! Fracking is ecocide. For me it starts and ends there. What is the proper term when something transcends stupidy, idiocy??

  3. Gailforce says:

    2 thumbs up. Good article and good responses.

  4. ISABELLE PROCTER says:

    SQUAMISH SHOULD BE HARNESSING ITS INCREDIBLE WINDS TO CREATE CLEAN ENERGY. THE SITUATION REQUIRES SOME FORWARD-THINKING PERSON TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GREAT GIFT FROM NATURE!!

  5. Jim says:

    When every one quits purchasing goods made with, or are reliant on the petrochemical industry, then you are contributing to the cause. Take a look around you, educate yourself, and make some valid recommendations. Until then if you are not part of the solution. You are just wasting ink and time.

  6. David Gregr says:

    How many cars are in your driveway? Do you bike when you can or only when its nice out? Do you take vacations where you need to fly? Are you willing to give up your phone, TV, computer? How many clothes/shoes do you own? I see many people in opposition to fossil fuels but very little concrete alternatives. You all wax on about alternative resources but are you aware that new solar panels require arsenic, bauxite, boron, cadmium, coal, copper, gallium, indium, iron ore, molybdenum, lead, phosphate, selenium, silica, tellurium, and titanium dioxide. Wind turbines use concrete, bauxite, cobalt, copper, iron ore, molybdenum and rare earth elements. So we say no to LNG but yes to mining? Given the recent tailings pond spill I would think now people will start ranting about how we have to stop mining. We are a resource consuming species whose population is exploding with no signs of stopping. Resource consumption will double in the next few decades and cities will be grow exponentially with failing infrastructure. It seems to me that there are more pressing issues to deal with that you might actually be able to do something about. If you are concerned about the LNG get involved and make sure that it is the best facility there is. The tankers will be running on NG so there will be little pollution from that. The heat dispersion issue seems to be getting dealt with. They have listened and moved the facility on to land to minimize the disruption to marine life.

    I am as stoked as everyone about the return of marine mammals to Howe SOund. We are a one car family and bike as much as we can. We compost, recycle, go on garbage picking treks, clean up garbage at the lakes, buy local and organic. Just because I see the Woodfibre LNG as potential income to Squamish to improve the infrastructure we so badly need doesn’t make me a bad person, just pragmatic.

    • tj says:

      Good Dave, well done, but whatever logic you come with, you will get a negative retaliatory response and also hate mail. You can’t reason with emotional sensationalist fear mongers…

    • Elijah Dann says:

      Pointing out that fossil fuel and various toxic substances are ubiquitous throughout our human-made environment is my argument, not yours. The fact that decades have been allowed for heavy industry to saturate our lives (with billions of dollars given to them as government subsidies), is hardly something you should think is a point for its continued exploitation.

      But with the point made, you extend your proclivity for non sequitur by thinking we should then further extend the addiction by exploiting, polluting and contaminating the environment with Clark’s LNG, provincial, aspirations. That’s your answer for job creation and having a stable economy?

      Yet even that isn’t enough for you, because you then mention the recent Imperial Metals devastation as somehow a point in your defense. It wasn’t, as you put it, a “spill”. (You just can’t help yourself from telling us how you really understand the world around you, can you?) The tailing ponds dam burst is now estimated at costing 200 million, although I’d argue the cost to our water and natural environment doesn’t have a price tag. Consider that next time you wonder how pragmatic your world view is.

      • Wolfgang W says:

        While your article does indeed bring up the big picture of one of the pressing issues of our time in the world, and with it the choices we face, David’s response is not a non sequitur, as you would have it, but an equally stark statement about the coundrum we as a resources devouring species are in.
        Time perhaps to ditch the vestments and acoutrements of selfrighteousness when responding to a very valid post? Remember, we are all ‘sinners’ in this, including you, Elijah.

        • Elijah Dann says:

          When you hear yourself say “self-righteous” about someone, that’s just your brain trying to tell you it doesn’t have the ability to follow the argument.

          • Wolfgang W says:

            So no criticism allowed of your sermons then? For only you have access to the truth? Me thinks I have heard it all before…

        • Adam says:

          An idiots argument. So to be clear, because you’ve been duped by oil and gas – forced to pay through the nose for something you can get for a fraction of the cost, we should never change our ways? Who cares how much plastic is in anyone’s life or how many cars you drive. Just because we do things a certain way today doesn’t mean it must stay that way forever. Following the logic of many of the commenters here, we’d still be in the stone age. Wake up and evolve. The science is in, the economy is shifting (no matter how much you might hate that) and LNG is not the future. By conservative estimates, LNG demand could evaporate as early as 2026 replaced by renewable alternatives. If this happens, we’re all in the same boat so instead of defending a foreign corporation with no interest in anything other than profit, why don’t you think about BC and what’s good for us for a moment. Squamish stand to benefit very little real benefit from this project – floored by the number of people how with no evidence think the messiah has arrived in Woodfibre.

          • Wolfgang W says:

            You know what Adam? Sadly you too seem to become more and more a preacher, using metaphors such as ‘messiah’, wrapping yourself into the mantle of a ”know it all” and dismissing even the slightest criticism as ‘idiots’ arguments followed by a torrent of predictable sermons. Purism simply gone amok or an uncompromising, deep-seated pseudo-religious mindset? Let readers judge.
            I am afraid Adam, yours and your soul mate Elijah’s tirades won’t sway many to embrace the anti-LNG cause, quite the contrary I would guess.

    • Paul Watt says:

      I don’t think you’ll find many people that would agree that we can end 100% of fossil fuel use today. Or possibly ever. What I say in my arguments is: we shouldn’t be giving our fossil fuels away as fast as is technically possible, for insanely low royalties (lowest on the planet… look it up), while employing people from outside of Canada to do it, with many foreign companies getting the profits, while also helping destroy the air and water both here and around the world. Do you get that?

  7. Susan Chapelle says:

    I believe Dave is pointing out the various components of “renewable energy”. Missing the point that all energy, whether renewable or not requires industry practices that are opposed. Your comment on whether the damn burst or spilled is irrelevant to the fact that mining creates poor climate change practices, yet all those metals are required in the production of alternative and renewable energies. There is no currently available technology to move to, until we realize multiple spectrum sun extraction with storage batteries (also not “renewable”). It is easy to point to other technologies, that take up land, resources, and energy yet are irrelevant to supply demand. We can say zero as loud as we want, and doing so is a great exercise and perhaps may lead to better funding for research. However, to just say NO is the farthest thing from pragmatic. I believe scientists and researchers to be some of the most pragmatic solution oriented humans. If there was the possibility to supply the demand of our current energy situation with “clean”, we would have moved there. However, we are globalizing, and if you look at pragmatic, you can point to the fact that if not here, where we have environmental reasoning and laws, and (somewhat) protection, then it may find itself located in third world countries, where rainforest will be taken down, labour abused, and the environment less respected. Have it in a place where you can control its environment, make it better for people in far off places, and perhaps even have a diversified economy. Most of us use sports infrastructure made from coal in China. We see the results of coal. Then quote pulled studies to support debunked views of the world. It is fantasy land to enjoy the world around you, then write about the evils of energy extraction without being an expert.

    • tj says:

      Susan, you make to much sense. Therefore the Enviros will hate you along with the obligatory hate mail by them. Scared ?…no, I thought not….
      Gotta love humans who have a spine aye ? ( That’s where you come in)…Well done !

    • Elijah Dann says:

      Susan, children “spill” milk at the table. The Imperial Metals is a massive, completely man-made, preventable, environmental disaster. Millions of dollars of damage – at least if you can put a price tag on the environment and human health. Perhaps an innocent enough mistake on David’s part to call it such. But given your defense of heavy industry in your response, it belies a mindset you also endorse.

      Those who are aghast at how IM was repeatedly warned about this impending doom, and the government’s complicit association in its prevention, is hardly something we are “ranting” about. It indicates how big industry and our politicians roll these days.

      And it shocks the average citizen. Just today it was reported by the CBC that our government wants to continue to treat our country like a dump: “Lakes across Canada face being turned into mine dump sites” Just a little more “spilling”? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/lakes-across-canada-face-being-turned-into-mine-dump-sites-1.733972

      And yet your propensity for underestimation continues with your defense of Woodfibre LNG. You do this by underestimating the seriousness of climate change; sustainable industry and our society’s ability to adapt to needed change; and the alternative, renewal resources already at our disposal.

      Firstly, do I really need to reemphasize that climate change is a fact, causing billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, causing thousands of death and untold misery – with even the worst to come if we continue to treat the earth like a garbage can? That climate scientists are warning us if we don’t make radical changes now, we’ll soon reach a tipping point where radical change to our climate will be unstoppable? That many of them also argue that, to have any hope, we need to keep remaining fossil fuel in the ground?

      Astonishingly, and contrary to the science, you argued in your article in The Chief that “[i]t may be 50 to 100 years before we get off our dependence on fossil fuel.” That’s just bad science. And a reckless outlook.

      Secondly, it’s a whopper for you to say, “It is fantasy land to enjoy the world around you, then write about the evils of energy extraction without being an expert.”

      I’d argue the contrary. Namely, that it’s a fantasy land to enjoy the natural splendor of an environment like Squamish – the mountains, forest, and the purity of the air and water – and then support the very industries set to deface it.

      But you are right. I’m not a Ph.D. in climate science, chemistry, or related renewable technologies.

      Yet, neither are you.

      So what? Again the overuse of non sequitur. (For those who apparently don’t know what a non sequitur is, “Does it follow that you have to be Ph.D. in the topic to criticize?”)

      Back to your example of the Imperial Metals disaster: Are you suggesting that ordinary citizens can’t be outraged at such a fiasco without first having a Ph.D.? Are you suggesting that unless you have a Ph.D. in chemistry, for instance, you can’t have an opinion on Woodfibre LNG? (Sean Lumb actually is a local with Ph.D. in chemistry. Take a look and see how he describes the abject pollution Woodfibre LNG plans to do.)

      But you don’t need to be “an expert” to have an informed opinion on any of these topics. Just a willingness to do the proper research and think carefully about it. It is about looking around the world in which we live, seeing our addiction to these substances, seeing how other countries and communities are making the change, and saying we have to change as well.

      If you don’t want to be a part of such ambition, you don’t have to be. Just don’t try to discourage others that change is possible.

      Thirdly, it boggles the mind how you could write: “If there was the possibility to supply the demand of our current energy situation with ‘clean’, we would have moved there.” Another leap in assumptions, with you being an excellent example to the contrary. We certainly do have alternative, renewable resources immediately at our disposal, but industry, big corporations, and our politicians stand in the way of implementing it because of self-interest. So just because we aren’t doing it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there or we can’t do it.

      As for the claim that the technology doesn’t exist, once again, why not just do a few minutes of research about the startling advances with renewable, sustainable energies?

      Once again, you don’t have to support these necessary changes. I just wish you wouldn’t try to stop ordinary citizens from desiring change – political and corporate – and wanting to do something about it. Ordinary citizens can make a difference. And they will.

      • Wolfgang W says:

        And that is why a referendum on Woodfibre LNG is so much needed, whatever its outcome will be!

        • Wendy Tanoto says:

          Hi Wolfgang,

          Aside from the environmental impacts Woodfibre LNG would bring, the companies owned by Sukanto Tanoto had badly violated human rights in Indonesia. Please think twice before letting Sukanto Tanoto invest in Squamish.

          See post for more Sukanto’s violence history: http://www.sukantotanoto.co/news-sources/

    • Adam says:

      Susan. Great things happen because someone has a vision and a resolute commitment to doing the impossible. Your leadership style appears to be ‘oh, well its too hard. Let’s quit.’ Renewables aren’t perfect but they offer a vastly superior path forward than anything oil and gas has given us in decades past. It’s time for leaders who can chart a difficult course. If you just want to point out problems and table excuses, in hopes that we can sustain the status quo then with the utmost of respect, step aside.

  8. Wendy Tanoto says:

    Hi Wolfgang,

    I just learned about the story of Muhammad Ridwan, an environmental activist leader in Pulau Padang. During one of their protests, one of the RAPP operator accidentally lost his life. Muhammad was later sentenced for 16 years for premeditated murder, a crime he never committed. Muhammad even tried to burn himself in front of the government building to protest but he was captured before he did it. His friends and family has been trying really hard to get him out of jail but the legal system in Indonesia is so corrupted that even the central government ignored their protests.

    He’s still serving his sentence right now. After losing their leader, the local farmers were hopeless in continuing their protests against RAPP. Therefore, RAPP is now freely operating on the lands belong to the farmers.

    I can’t imagine the feeling of Muhammad and his family. His friend told me that unfortunately, Muhammad is not a Canadian like Rick Van Lee, and no other foreign embassy could help him.

    But maybe you can and we all can help him to get a fair trail.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Serikat-Tani-Riau-STR/314999131947591

    http://www.berdikarionline.com/kabar-rakyat/20140412/aktivis-pembela-kaum-tani-dituntut-16-tahun-penjara.html

    (Most of the news related to Muhammad Ridwan are written in Indonesian. Use Google Chrome to read it in English.)

    • Wolfgang W says:

      How could I have any influence on this. I suggest you copy the post you made here into the comment thread of one of the outspoken proponents. If you read the Reporter online and follow the discussion, you know who they are. They may have some influence.

    • tj says:

      Wendy Tanoto…This is Squamish…and you are..OFF TOPIC !

      • Wendy Tanoto says:

        It’s not off topic. It’s information of Sukanto Tanoto, the owner of Woodfibre LNG.

      • Emily Ormerod says:

        Susan,

        You claim that pragmatic scientists and researchers would have moved us in the direction of more sustainable energy technologies if they existed. What makes you believe scientists and researchers have that much influence? Science and research also relies on funding. There is headway being made by scientists and researchers – I am sure it could benefit from additional funding. Do you really not believe the human race – with all that it has conceived of and engineered throughout history – is not capable of doing better? Not zero impact, but less impact – better.

        You say here in Canada we have environmental reasoning. First of all what is environmental reasoning? Do you mean that we attempt to assess environmental impact – the environmental assessment process. Let’s take a quick glance at that with respect to WLNG. Only the local impact of this facility is being looked at – in isolation: as one might examine a woman’s uterus without also considering her ovaries or fallopian tubes (yes, I did just use that analogy). Furthermore, what makes you so confident that the research methods informing the environmental assessment process are robust and the information gathered is the best available?

        “If not here, then in another country”. This is not a strong argument at all. Having an LNG plant here does not preclude investors and developers setting up LNG plants in other countries. If those opportunities exist and are seen to be lucrative or have some other side benefit they will be pursued regardless of whether this company build WLNG here. “It may find itself located in third world countries, where rainforest will be taken down, labour abused, and the environment less respected.” These things have happened, and will continue to happen regardless of whether WLNG is built here. If those are truly your concerns invest your energies directly in efforts to mitigate these problems, don’t delude yourself that supporting LNG development in BC will somehow make the world a better place.

        I haven’t looked into it, but is seems probable that many of the recreation technologies so many in Squamish enjoy are in part dependent on burning coal, but so are many of the utterly useless plastic trinkets, toys and widgets marketed to an ever burgeoning consumer market – those that very quickly find their way into thrift stores and garbage bins. I think that if we were going to play the game of placing blame for coal dependence materialism would get more points than recreation. But really what we should be considering are general big picture shifts not nit-picky tit for tat arguments.

        Goal $3,000.00 CAD
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        Achieved $2,990.00 CADMY GOAL

        Goal $3,000.00 CAD
        Achieved $2,990.00 CADMY GOAL

        Goal $3,000.00 CAD
        Achieved $2,990.00 CADMY GOAL

        Goal $3,000.00 CAD
        Achieved $2,990.00 CAD

        Goal $3,000.00 CAD
        Achieved $2,990.00 CAD

      • Adam says:

        Yes, TJ….let’s make sure we don’t give any consideration to the fact that the business owner our Council wants us to get into bed with is one of the worst polluters in the entire pulp and paper industry – no easy feat. Further, let’s ignore the fact they they are CONVICTED tax fraudsters – having been ordered to pay fines north of $270M USD. You are the company you keep and Tanoto is about as crooked as you could get. A great reflection on our Council.

        • tj says:

          Sure Adam, well taken, yet I don’t believe in ‘manmade human government’ or their lousy solutions, or ‘earth worshippers’ crummy solutions to our earths woes either.
          That’s where you, along with your ilk…and I, differ. Simple.

          Why so angry ?…Be happy !