Rafe- Vancouver Sun keeps shilling for LNG, Woodfibre plant

Rafe: Vancouver Sun keeps shilling for “clean” LNG, Woodfibre plant

Rafe- Vancouver Sun keeps shilling for LNG, Woodfibre plant
Christy Clark promotes “Clean LNG” at Vancouver conference last year (David P. Ball/The Tyee)

The Vancouver Sun – rapidly becoming, if it hasn’t already become the “Pravda” of Vancouver – has done it again with another article supporting LNG and the proposed Squamish plant. This one is by a father and daughter combination and they come to what to me, at any rate, is an amazing conclusion.

LNG would help the climate? Puh-leeze!

If you just read the headline you would assume that this story has British Columbia saving the world from atmospheric pollution and global warming if it just starts to produce more natural gas. If you work your way through the article – and it’s pretty crappy – you’ll see that their point is that natural gas is not as bad as coal or oil. They conclude by suggesting that it would be a very good thing if British Columbia would produce more LNG and, of course, built an LNG facility in Squamish.

Here is the reasoning as I understand it:

If BC “fracks” away, pollutes the ground and the water around it, uses water that is needed elsewhere, dumps chemical-laden water into the water table, further pollutes the air by extracting the natural gas and releasing massively climate-damaging fugitive methane emissions, pipes it dangerously to Squamish, uses enormous amounts of energy to convert it to LNG, then puts it on tankers which by the most conservative estimates will cause great risk to Howe Sound; it’s then taken to, say, China, and is burned causing more pollution into the atmosphere – that this is a very good thing that British Columbia is doing to save the atmosphere and lessen global warming. Hooray for us!

If on the other hand, we leave it in the ground, that would be a very bad thing for the environment. Like, Wow!

Does anybody believe this stuff?

I’m quite happy to have the Podtmedia papers falling all over themselves to kiss Harper and Clark’s backsides and support their undying love for fossil fuels in all forms – the reason being that nobody believes these papers anymore, so shrill have they become. They seem not only unwilling but unable to present the other side of the story and so far as I am aware don’t even report the extremely active goings-on of those who oppose LNG and the Squamish facility.

Sometimes it takes a while but eventually people notice this. They know that there are an awful lot of very intelligent people, not all of the left, who are opposed to LNG generally and the Squamish facility specifically and that that number is growing. When they don’t see that mentioned in either of the Vancouver papers, they conclude that the Vancouver papers are stuck in a right-wing time warp.

Harcourt joins Team LNG

I’ve always felt that in political debates it’s more important as to who your enemies are than your friends. To have Postmedia as an enemy is infinitely better than having them as a friend.

The same can be said for Mike Harcourt, who has jumped into the fray on behalf of Woodfibre LNG and their ventriloquist dummy, Resource Works. This latter organization has poured out such atrocious untruths that they have instantly become, at least in the Sea-to-Sky and Squamish communities, utterly unbelievable.

Mr. Harcourt, who was a mediocrity as mayor of Vancouver and an utter failure as Premier – his inability to run a government destroying his political party in the bargain – is talking a lot of nonsense about rigorous environmental proceedings and public process.

It is amazing to me that people like Harcourt still believe that if you tell a big enough fib, people will believe it. That may have been true at one time but it’s not anymore.

The public isn’t stupid

People in our community have seen and heard what happens at the National Energy Board or any one of the numerous environmental assessment proceedings and know that these are fixed, are essentially blowjobs for industry and do handstands to avoid letting the public have a proper say or cross-examine the experts.

There is one area of inquiry that Postmedia, Mr. Harcourt, the governments and fossil fuel proponents have avoided like the plague, and it’s critically important.

LNG tanker risks ignored

As has appeared in these pages several times, LNG tanker traffic in Howe Sound is far too dangerous to even contemplate. The most conservative of the American experts is Dr. Mike Hightower of Albuquerque, New Mexico, whose standards have been accepted by the US government.

Taking his measurements as to how far tankers must be from land and from other vessels, there is no way in God’s green earth that Howe Sound is suitable for LNG tanker traffic. Dr. Hightower is considered very conservative in this area and the middle-of-the-road expertise suggests it’s far more dangerous.

Surely we must all ask ourselves why this issue has not been thoroughly canvassed Postmedia, Resource Works, senior governments, Mike Harcourt, and others. What are they afraid of?

The answer to that question is simple – the truth. The possibility that Environmentalists, of all people, might be right on something is too much for them to stomach.

Concerns justified

Well, I’m here to tell you, on this issue especially we are right. There is no quarrel with that from anyone who knows anything about this issue.

In fact, my story in these pages so shook Woodfibre LNG that the president called an emergency meeting on a Saturday to announce that another route would be pursued. As you read here, Commander Roger Sweeny (RCN Ret), an expert on these matters and a lifelong landowner in Howe Sound, quickly concluded that this alternative was far, far worse than the original!

This obviously accounts for the fact that Woodfibre LNG and Resource Works have been struck dumb ever since.

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to use these pages, from time to time, to bring to you these facts so unpleasant to Woodfibre LNG, their high paid truth-benders, their captive politicians and pliable press that they dare not even mention them.

If I may say so, we are all very fortunate to have these pages to read after gagging on at the rubbish published by Woodfibre LNG and their acolytes.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

15 thoughts on “Rafe: Vancouver Sun keeps shilling for “clean” LNG, Woodfibre plant

  1. The only thing more disturbing than the Keystone Cops bumbling around before starting a clean up of what is essentially a minor oil spill is the “blame game” ALL levels of govt have resorted to.

    “We were’nt informed for almost SIX HOURS!” Vancouver Mayor and potential federal MP Gregor Roberston announces with a ‘seroius face” plastered on his otherwise vacuous mug. As if citizens and the media hadnt already contacted 911 or the Parks board via phone, internet, etc.
    Please Gregor place the “Rightous indignation” back on the shelf right next to “Empathy for the homeless” . The municipal election is over.

    “I am disappointed at the federal govt and the Coast Guards lack of “Nimble-less-ness” (yup she actually slowed down to carefully pronounce a non word), Huffed our beloved bimbo,
    She blamed the feds for their slow response and slagged Gregor for his critisism of the Province. ” Maybe we should take charge of our coastal waters from the Coast guard “, ( (ANOTHER idiotic announcement with no forethought of the Canadian constitution and where federal authority starts and provincial jurisdiction ends.)
    Preem Christy, when cornered by an aggressive reporter at a news scrum. ( Note to ALL MSM media! Asking tough questions to incredibly unprepared, politicians who are there for a “photo op” is a great time to “go for the throat’ with real questions. Did anyone notice how fast Christy handed the only tough question to Mary Polack and then jumped back out of the glare?)
    Completely out of her depth. But she does have a nicer smile than Ontarios’ Preem…………

    Then the federal spokeperson shaking his head at both the Mayor and the Preems amateur blitherings. Probably wondering what he did to deserve a posting in the political asylum known as Lotusland.

    Oh the love between all levels of govt on the West Coast.
    It makes one wonder how we will all get along after a typical Exxon Valdez oil spill or a massive Earthquake.

  2. Don’t leave out the latest shill for LNG, Jas Johal is now the spokesperson telling us how swell LNG is. Apparently it’s “Show me the money” time in our local media.

    1. I know BoB, discussting. And MarK Madriga for BC Hydro and smart meters. Now there’s a couple of bonifide experts. Can’t watch Global any more because of it.
      Keith Baldrey? Don’t get me started on that!

  3. Thanks, Rafe, for taking on the BC “Liberals” and their LNG idiocy! Not only are their environmental claims untrue, but the industry itself, argues industry insider Bill Powers in his book “Cold, Hungry and in the Dark: Exploding the Natural Gas Supply Myth”, is questionable.

    Relying on faulty science, bought-and-paid-for-whitepapers masquerading as independent research and “industry consultants”, Powers argues that the “Shale Promoters” have vastly overstated the viable supply of shale gas resources for their own financial gain. This startling exposé, written by an industry insider, suggests that the stakes involved in the Enron scandal might seem like lunch money in comparison to the bursting of the natural gas bubble.


      1. C’mon Hugh. I was promoting you for Minister of Gas. Not so much now. GVRD was forecasting another million people in the next 2 decades. How many in the next 800 decades? And the ROC? And how much of that 3,000 trillion cubic feet (that’s only 85 trillion cubic meters) is recoverable?
        And who is going to be around in 8,000 years?
        No, this is not a case for giving it away. Wait 800 years and SELL it.

    1. From what I have learned from this site as well as others is that Fracking is very similar to the Yukon Gold Rush. Some of the first big finds were lucrative but most of the money has been made by supplying the companies or flipping the leases on the land. The wells can be only feasible for a very short run and many of the wells are duds.It is also very expensive to drill a well. In a time when the Southwest of the USA and Brazil is in historic drought, it seems absurd to be using a technology that is so reliant on water. Especially when they pay very little for the resource and my understanding it would be very costly if not impossible to make clean again. Than you have the costs of getting rid of all the potentially lethal materials from the process(Thanks to Cheney many states don’t even have to disclose what those are). The reason for the hype is like hot potato nobody wants to be caught holding a bunch of uneconomic leases so they pump it up so some other sucker will take it off their hands.

  4. It ain’t gonna happen! They can talk and write articles till the sun goes down but no one is stupid enough, but them, to think this is viable.Even if this government lowered the royally to 0%.
    LNG is possibly the worst industry and known losing venture to invest in no matter what this government is willing to give away. This is the tail endings of them hanging onto Christy’s dream. A dream formed from madness and promoted by people like the Sun. They are baron of any intelligence or acumen required by them.

  5. Hugh for Premier! Or at least Minister of Gas. I’ve heard (but not authenticated) BC Hydro’s price for power to Ajax in Kamloops is 3 cents/kwh. (I pay 11.27 cents). Wonder what Tech is paying for power at Highland Valley?
    Then there is the issue of powering Ferries, trains and trucks (yes Virginia, Caterpillar makes earthmoving equipment that runs on NG). Why not use it instead of giving it away?
    The amount of energy required to liquefy and ship LNG would heat every home in Squamish (my estimate) and THEY would pay for it, rather than giving it away.

  6. I read that article in the Sun today. I urge everyone as concerned as Rafe is about what the Vancouver Sun has become on this issue, to write the publisher to complain. Simply ask for an answer to question: Why have the majority of municipalities and regional districts around Howe Sound passed motions to ban the tankers? Why has West Vancouver voted twice on such a motion. MP John Weston created such a fuss after the first vote they had a second one with the same result.

    It’s because no matter how much one may lust for an LNG plant, not every location is the right one. Would you put it on Stanley Park? No. Of course not. Woulld you site it on Spanish Banks beside the Royal Van Yacht Club? No, of course not. There would be an uprising of BC Liberal donors. Well, Howe Sound is an even more irresponsible site to pick for a Class A Hazard Industry. Only a person lacking in the most modest state of sanity would consider putting an LNG plant with two floating storage vessels welded together over two thrust earthquake faults. According to WLNG’s own Environmental Assessment Application, Woodfibre is located in a moderate to high earthquake zone. Squamish recently experienced an earthquake. Howe Sound, according to industry standards, should not even be considered as a site for an LNG plant and 1000′ LNG supertankers. Thank you Rafe for another terrific column. Good journalism is alive and well at Commonsense Canadian.

  7. Woodfibre LNG would use clean, renewable power from BC Hydro in order to produce CO2-emitting LNG. As if that makes any sense.

    That clean, renewable power from BC Hydro could be used instead for powering electric cars or trains in BC, rather than relying on gasoline and diesel originating from the Alberta oilsands.

    Then there’s the question of whether BC Hydro would be losing money selling power to Woodfibre, since new power acquisitions for BC Hydro are very expensive.

    Then there’s the LNG tanker ships, which would be emitting tons of CO2 travelling the 7,000 km from BC to Asia. And the 7,000 km back to BC.

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