130 scientists slam Lelu Island LNG report; last chance for public comment

Juvenile salmon at Flora Bank, where a controversial LNG terminal is proposed (Tavish Campbell)
Juvenile salmon at Flora Bank, where a controversial LNG terminal is proposed (Tavish Campbell)

Over 130 scientists are slamming the draft environmental report into a proposed LNG terminal on Lelu Island over salmon habitat and other key issues. The concerns – expressed in a letter yesterday calling on the Trudeau Government to disregard the draft report on the project – come near the end of the public comment window, which closes Friday.

Report “scientifically flawed”

The letter, signed by such respected salmon experts as SFU’s Dr. Jonathan Moore, BCIT’s Dr. Marvin Rosenau, and retired senior DFO manager Otto Langer, calls the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s draft report on the project “scientifically flawed” and based on “inadequate” information. Said Langer, “The CEAA report is less than scientific, full of speculation and wishful thinking.”

The report took a tough stand on the project’s carbon footprint, warning of “significant adverse environmental effects” to the climate, but critics say it fell short on recognizing the damage the Petronas-led project would inflict on vital salmon habitat in the Skeena Estuary.

“You couldn’t find a worse location to develop in terms of risks to fish. The CEAA report does not acknowledge that this LNG proposal is located on critical habitat of Canada’s second largest wild salmon watershed”, said Charmaine Carr-Harris of the Skeena Fisheries Commission.

5 big mistakes

The scientists’ letter lists five key mistakes made by CEAA with its report:

  • Misrepresentation of the importance of the project area to fish populations, especially salmon
  • Inadequate consideration of multiple project impacts and their cumulative effects
  • Unsubstantiated reliance on mitigation
  • Assuming lack of information equates to lack of risks
  • Disregard for science that was not funded by the proponent

On the last two points, the scientists highlight fundamental flaws in the review process and its scientific methodology, noting:

[quote]CEAA’s draft report is not a balanced consideration of the best-available science. On the contrary, CEAA relied upon conclusions presented in proponent-funded studies which have not been subjected to independent peer-review and disregarded a large and growing body of relevant independent scientific research, much of it peer-reviewed and published…The CEAA draft report for the Pacific Northwest LNG project is a symbol of what is wrong with environmental decision-making in Canada.[/quote]

Citizens can add their voice

The window for public comment on CEAA’s draft report remains open until Friday end of day (see instructions for submission here). After that, the review panel will weigh the feedback it has received and produce a final report sometime in the coming months. It will then fall to the Trudeau government to decide whether or not it wishes to issue an environmental certificate for the project, over these serious climate and salmon concerns.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

13 thoughts on “130 scientists slam Lelu Island LNG report; last chance for public comment

  1. I wish I could agree that this will all be solved in the Legislature but with the John Horgan NDP supporting LNG, how can that happen?

    We must all now start thinking, and dare I say planning, civil disobedience. No Establishment in history has given up anything except after civil disobedience – it is legitimate and democratic. May I respectfully, if immodestly, suggest you read my short history of civil disobedience on my website, http://www.rafeonline.com

    Believe me, you’ll learn that if you become a part of civil disobedience, you will be in very respectable company indeed.

  2. Were have all the scientist been hiding oh I forgot they have been getting the big pay check’s to say what ever there told to say what a crime.It all boils down to greed.

  3. Pffffft
    The ballot box is how Krusty-the-Klown and her circus-kar of malfeasant malingerers got their hands on the cranks of power
    Immunity to Act with impunity must be terminated and their corrupt asses exposed to personal liability
    A little bit of good old fashioned fear of the public would be beneficial

  4. One LNG Tanker Ship has the Same Thermobaric Blast Equivalent to the Hiroshima Blast A LNG Tank Farm is Much Bigger

  5. It doesn’t matter what the public think you people are going to go a head with this no matter what. The only thing that would stop this is if the people if BC tool up arms and fought back just like a real war which it should be.

    1. I never in my 55 years of life ever thought I’d say it, but Geoff, you may be right. Sound science and common sense has nothing to do with decisions being made by our governments – they do not serve the people, they serve their friends. It really sickens me to realize this.

      Keep up the good work all you writers at CSC…

          1. Voting isnt “viable”? Then what is?
            While I like the “torches and pitchfoks” idea…its not really “viable” either.

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