Dolha’s LNG Views Flawed

JoelBy Joel Beckmann
Published: Oct 25, 2014



Regarding Mr. Dolha’s Oct.4th article “If the Shoe Fits”, he does all of Squamish a disservice with his continued support for another foolish ‘boom and bust’ industry.  

Any argument for this LNG experiment in BC is based on bad economics: an improbable assumption that both the supply of natural gas and the overseas demand for it will be sustained at a rate that keeps it all profitable; facts seldom contested by anyone other than hardcore partisans.  With such an uncertain market, why are we in such a rush to give away our precious non-renewables?  

And give them away to foreign corporations who will pay a marginal tax rate while reaping all the rewards and dealing with none of the economic and environmental fallout?  

We have to get past the belief that companies like WoodFibre LNG are interested in the well-being of Squamish.  They are not, and getting excited about 100 jobs (that may or may not go to locals) is like thanking your jailer for a crust of mouldy bread.  Furthermore, one cannot in this debate ignore (as LNG apologists are fond of doing) how natural gas is produced, in our own province. 
Fracking is an obscenely energy-intensive and environmentally destructive practice we should be very wary of encouraging if clean drinking water is a priority.   Just because Squamish is “firmly rooted” in industry doesn’t mean we should be rooted in further boom and bust cycles that benefit none of us in the long run.  People and businesses want to move here; let’s pursue diverse, creative, clean-technology industry with fewer risks to everyone. 
Ask the candidates in this civic election: “what is your vision for attracting technology business and responsible industry to Squamish?”.   See you on voting day!


  1. Johnny Franko says:

    Have you done any research into a prospective client for the old Woodfibre site?

    It is already a brownfield and is/has been re mediated by WLNG.

    Who could we attract to this site? Or do you believe it should be left as a relict of the past?

    I remember hearing that a hotel was going to buy it? Is this possible? Maybe we could make it into a ski resort. Oh wait nobody wants new ski resorts anymore.

    I got it. A mountain bike park. Okay we need to find a buyer. That should be easy.


  2. Donny says:

    I have admired the well researched articles on this subject, but I am a little confused over this one.

    Joel says that both supply and demand are headed downhill. Probably true according to most forecasts.

    So why is the sponsor going into this high risk venture? Is his capital injection so small , and subsidies so large that “go for it , can’t afford not to” is his motive.

    Can someone explain?

  3. monahb says:

    I can’t speak to the motives of Mr. Tanoto when it comes to WFLNG except to say that he has an interesting history. Also, keep in mind that he has not exercised his option to purchase and won’t do so until he gets his Environmental approval. I agree with Joel Beckman’s comments. There is little benefit to Squamish in the way of jobs but potentially a severe downside. The proposed Fortis compressor station for Squamish will bring with it a public safety risk. Explosion, fire, noise, air pollution are all concerns and realities around NA where these stations exist. Today communities across the USA and parts of Canada are fighting placement of compressor station near population centres big and small. The cooling process to be used by Woodfibre is already being banned in California for negative impact on the environment. SIGTTO, international organization of industry members, states it is wrong to consider a site for an LNG facility and supertankers in a narrow inland waterway with populations centres at the shoreline, commercial and recreational marine traffic and other conflicting waterway uses. It’s by their own description a class A Hazard industry. Those who dismiss reality by suggesting methane release is nothing to be worried about (it’s only a more potent green house gas than CO2 and leaks from fracking, pipelines and plants) and volatile if given the proper conditions. LNG is frozen to -160 degrees so if it does leak spreads out over the water like a fog. According to Sandia National Labs that produces studies and hazard maps for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the US, in windy locations the fog can spread up to 7 miles. If it hits an ignition point then there is a severe problem. With benefits to the residents of Howe Sound next to nothing why would we even consider having the plant and the tankers anywhere near us.

  4. MattB says:

    Great question! The recent Petronas threat “to call off the $10-billion project to be built near Prince Rupert, B.C., amid a delayed regulatory approval process, plans by the provincial government to impose an LNG tax and a “lack of appropriate incentives” is a case in point (see ). Clearly the foreign investors are playing the BC government for all its worth and the Liberals have shown a rather disturbing tendency to give in as demonstrated by the recent announcement cutting LNG taxes in half. But this is only part of the picture. Governments, both provincial and federal have shown that they are all too willing to concede in other areas too, such as the deal to grant work permits to foreign workers to “help build the LNG industry.” not to mention plans to build the Site C dam at a cost to taxpayers of $10 billion to supply LNG sites cheap power.

    We in BC have become pawns in a high stakes poker game between LNG investors and politicians who are hell bent in having LNG plants build no matter what the short or long-term costs but with rather limited benefits to British Columbians.

    Ultimately, market factors will be the biggest factor and as it stands, BC LNG faces an uphill battle, not the least of which are competition from Russia, which recently signed a deal to sell natural gas to Chinese gas for $10.50/mBTUs which is what it will cost to produce BC LNG!

    Declining energy prices put the advantage squarely on the side of foreign LNG investors who will continue to play governments and everyone else as they wait and hope for energy prices to improve. In the meantime, they will search for the cheapest energy sources from those who are willing to cut their prices to the bone to play the game.

    • Jon S. says:

      Matt, (please note the correct use of a comma, and not a semicolon after your name)

      Please answer one simple question for me. Do you really think Woodibre LNG would build this plant if they were not able to turn a profit?

  5. Laurie says:

    Good article re who is Christy Clark serving with the BC LNG industry?