Climate solutions vs government actions: Part I. Fortis expansion proposal for Tilbury Island LNG terminal (by Peter van der Velden). Public comments due by 15-Aug.

This is the first in a series of three articles on the environment and how our governments are failing to protect our interests. This article discusses the safety issues of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and expansion proposals to the Fortis Tilbury Island plant located in Delta. The second article will discuss the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) proposal to build a man-made island container terminal expansion to the Delta port. The third article will cover the continuing government support for the fossil fuel industry and the financial and environmental consequences that affect all of us in BC.

WE ARE NOT A PART OF CLIMATE SOLUTION. OUR GOVERNMENTS ARE FAILING US.

Part I Fortis expansion proposal for Tilbury Island LNG terminal

DANGEROUS and environmentally damaging LNG expansion PROPOSALS FOR THE DELTA PLANT

GOVERNMENT OBFUSCATION OR GOVERNMENT INACTION

Is it collusion or just parliamentary paralysis? It certainly seems hard to understand. It is difficult to grasp why two senior levels of government are driving the LNG development of BC. At the same time, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal party have declared that we are in a “CLIMATE EMERGENCY”.

In the Meantime, the City of Delta appears to be supporting proposals by Fortis to enlarge the current LNG facility at Tilbury Island.

To be sure, Mayor George Harvey has stated that he wants “more information”. It seems the information he is looking for is supportive. Opponents have not been invited to speak directly to the council. Groups have been allowed to speak to the ‘Climate Action and Community Liveability Advisory Committee (CACLAC)’. Sadly, the councillor that chairs the committee has already committed to support the proposals. This negates any value a healthy public discussion might hold.

Dylan Kruger identifying himself to be a Delta councillor wrote to the Environmental Assessment process (EAO) for the Tilbury expansion, stating the following:

“The Tilbury Marine Jetty Project will help advance our climate action goals as we work towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment. LNG is a safe and environmentally responsible energy choice for marine shipping and is an important step towards reducing emissions, air pollutants, and underwater noise.”

These comments could be almost a direct quote from a Fortis presentation and can easily be dismissed as inaccurate. LNG is neither safe nor environmentally responsible.

THE LNG INDUSTRY IN BC-THE ECONOMY-OR THE ENVIRONMENT

In his letter Mr. Kruger qualifies his comments with economic support:

“The proposed Tilbury Marine Jetty will provide hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in our community. The construction and completion of this project will generate millions of dollars in economic activity, helping to support British Columbia’s economic recovery while bringing needed jobs and investment to the City of Delta”.

To be sure the LNG industry will create jobs and economic benefits, but at what cost? At each stage of the process, British Columbians will continue to greatly subsidize a corporation that had revenue for the twelve months ending March 31, 2022 of $7.772B, a 12.76% increase year-over-year.

If we have no environment there will be no need for an economy.

Economic reasons are mostly used by all levels of government: The drivers being the economy and jobs. This is not to say these are not important drivers. However, all governments have categorically agreed that we are in a “CLIMATE EMERGENCY”. So far, the issue seems to attract little more than lip-service. Not only is little being done, GHG emissions continue to be underestimated and fossil fuel projects continue to be approved.

Even though we have admitted that we are in a Climate Emergency, Canada, BC and Delta appear to be ‘old school’, locked into continuing development and subsidizing of fossil fuel projects.

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Internationally there is agreement, we cannot continue to live as we have if we are to achieve the goals set forth by the Paris agreement. In actual fact, few countries including Canada have lived up to stated goals thus far. 1).

The report on climate mitigation from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that limiting global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels this century, is all but out of reach without massive and immediate emissions cuts. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at the report’s release that:

“Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets, a blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios.”

CLIMATE CHANGE OR CLIMATE EMERGENCY

In case of any emergency clear measures need to be taken. Measures such as the following:

  • Assess immediate needs and act on immediate needs
  • Define emergency- consult specialists-, break down all issues, define goals
  • Consult stake holders and design a plan to meet those goals
  • Execute the plan
  • Monitor results and learn from-and adjust for-mistakes

Have our governments shown any such measures? The City of Vancouver has started. They have a very active department working on this and are moving ahead with a plan and environmental policies. These are not popular with everyone, but that will always be the case. If you are asking people to change their lives or behaviour it presents hardship. This means there will be difficulties and upset.

We can no longer plan commerce or infrastructure such as the BC LNG industry without applying the appropriate environmental lens. We have an LNG industry that is already doing damage to the environment which we need to curtail. Expanding this industry will not diminish the current damage, only increase the damage. 2).

THE TILBURY JETTY PROPOSAL

The original proposal was for 137 ships (annually) to move up and down the Fraser River for the movement of LNG. The newest proposal is to change that number to 365 ships (annually). The additional numbers will be barges carrying 3000 tonnes of LNG from Tilbury to English Bay to fuel ships using Methane/LNG for fuel. This shift in numbers is phenomenal and should require a complete new EAO process. The safety issues alone have not been addressed. It is stated that the fire and spill response will be up to the sub-contractors, affected cities/municipalities. The cities are not prepared, and should not be asked to bear the costs. It would add yet another subsidy to the fossil fuel and shipping industries.

The original number of ships (137) would mean that for 274 days per year there would be a complete shut-down of marine and fishing activity in the Fraser River while these LNG ships move through. Between the Tilbury bend and Sand Heads bend (entering the Strait of Georgia) there are a total of 5 bends. These can only be navigated by one large vessel at a time.

EFFECTS OF THE JETTY ON THE FRASER RIVER

In order to build the jetty and make the river wide enough for these vessels to turn, additional dredging needs to occur. It is not clear how often this will be required. It is stated that this will be once annually but that seems highly unlikely. Each time the river is dredged, the waters become silted and be deleterious to fish habitat further damaging our already fragile ecosystems.

The Fraser is home to the Chinook Salmon. These fish form a large part of the diet for the Southern Resident whales. Chinook stocks have been going down and the Orcas have already shown signs of undernourishment for some time. 3). The jetty proposal does not bode well for the Salmon, the Orcas or the Fraser river.

Above: Graphic of proposed jetty and ship turning radius into the Fraser River

GHG EMISSIONS

As a part of the EAO process, there is no consideration of up or down stream emissions from the jetty and its activities. This is a HUGE omission. The jetty should be considered a part of the EAO process of the plant expansion as it is instrumental in the export of LNG from Tilbury. The EAO process appears to do little but echo Fortis information. What is needed is an active peer review from scientists independent of the government.

Without a credible environmental assessment how is a proposal to be judged by the public or the governmental agencies involved?

A major source of discontent is that the Senior governments have allowed Fortis to break the proposals up into separate entities so that a full accounting environmental assessment is not required. How can any EAO process succeed with the limitted scope restrictions put in place? This makes any analysis or transparency of the process difficult to qualify. It behooves our governments to change this or the process will be flawed, incomplete, open to litigation and a large waste of time and money.

These are just some of the issues presented by the Jetty proposal. A proposal that is an integral part of the proposals to increase production and storage to the actual plant.

GET INVOLVED!

We need to engage a CLIMATE EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN now! We can no longer put it off. Environmentally we all have a responsibility to ensure the future generations health and well being. For this we need strong and determined leadership that cannot be set or defined by corporate interests or senior levels of government.

Currently there is a public comment period for the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). This focusses on the Marine Jetty to be built as a part of the Tilbury facility in Delta to ship LNG overseas.

https://projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/58851208aaecd9001b829b58/project-details

Public Comment period is Jul 14 to Aug 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. PDT).

Please, go to the site and let your comments be heard. It is important that the EAO gets as much public commentary as possible. Our governments and governmental agencies need to be aware that the public is engaged and enraged. We cannot continue to allow these decisions to be made in a vacuum.

“Despite efforts by governments to reduce emissions, most Canadians want to see governments do more. 66% would like to see governments in Canada put more emphasis on reducing emissions.”

-Abacus data October 2021

“Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs, to avoid collapse, is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands, to avoid collapse, is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

-Naomi Klein

 1). https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

 2). https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/fossil-gas-liquefied-what-lng-and-why-it-looming-climate-disaster/

3). https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/southern-resident-orcas-malnourished-ubc-study-1.6503594

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Citizen warns Metro Vancouver of possible B.C. Supreme Court challenge to METRO 2050, citing failure to consult key stakeholders and publicize Public Hearing (April 20)

Above: Metro 2050 banner. Credit Metro Vancouver website

Livestream – http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/webcast/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/webcast/Pages/default.aspx

One of the best-kept secrets in the Metro Vancouver region today, April 20, 2022, is that an important Public Hearing will be held tonight, starting at 6 pm on METRO 2050, the Metro Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022.

The Public Hearing is of major significance, as the final chance for the 2.8 million residents of 21 municipalities, one electoral district, and one First Nation, to provide input to elected officials prior to the intended adoption of METRO 2050 this July. Then, it is expected to guide and regulate many aspects of urban development for the next 28 years to 2050 (and beyond). The implications of the RGS are vast – affecting housing development (which by nature affects construction, demolition, displacement, infrastructure, taxes, livability, and the look and feel of our communities), transit and mobility (which affects billions of dollars of public money), employment (vastly important), ecological and agricultural lands (ditto), impact on climate and impacts of climate change, and much, much more. See official explanatory and promotional materials here – http://www.metrovancouver.org/metro2050.

But perhaps it’s no surprise that this Public Hearing, and probably METRO 2050 itself, is known only to a small number of people.

It appears Metro Vancouver and media have done their best to keep it under wraps. A CityHallWatch tally as of the day of the Public Hearing shows that media coverage has been ZERO to date. Civic reporters have been looking the other way. See “Full tally of media coverage on the crucial ‘Metro 2050’ Public Hearing on April 20/Wed: Implications for 2.8 million residents over the next 28 years

We have just noticed that the sole piece of correspondence published as of today (April 20) with the agenda package, as correspondence received by Metro Vancouver for the Public Hearing, covers significant concerns deserving further scrutiny.

The civic watcher (Roderick Louis) has carefully studied the official documentation and concludes that Metro Vancouver has failed to involve the public, notify the public, notify the media, and consult with specific key stakeholders (including boards of education across the region, B.C. ministry of Education and Child Care, police departments, RCMP, B.C.’s Solicitor General and Attorney General ministries).

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Full tally of media coverage on the crucial ‘Metro 2050’ Public Hearing on April 20/Wed: Implications for 2.8 million residents over the next 28 years

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

J

Guess what! Metro Vancouver regional body (formerly Greater Vancouver Regional District, or GVRD) is holding a Public Hearing on the evening of Wednesday, April 20, 2022. It is of high significance. The one and only public hearing to provide the Metro Vancouver region’s 2.8 million residents a chance to speak to elected officials at the regional level about a bylaw that is intended to guide urban development for the next 28 years to 2050 in the region’s 21 municipalities, UBC Endowment Lands, and Tsawwassen First Nation. Implications are huge. Planners say another million people will be living here by then.

Just for the record, here is a full tally of all the media coverage we could find in a search of Google News with the search terms “Metro 2050” and “Public Hearing,” to capture any coverage on this important meeting.

These outlets and reporters are the ones the public…

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Heads Up: Metro Vancouver’s METRO 2050 ‘Regional Growth Strategy’ public hearing April 20/Wed (6 pm): Vancouver, this affects YOU too.

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

ABOVE: Cover of the draft Metro 2050

Mark your calendars for April 20, 2022.

One single public hearing will be held for up to four hours to hear from about 2.8 million residents of Metro Vancouver (21 municipalities, one electoral area (UBC) and one treaty First Nation – Tsawwassen). This is for the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 1339, 2022, dubbed “Metro 2050.” It is a crucial and powerful document to determine land use, development, and transportation changes for a time period spanning the next 28 years to the year 2050. The meeting held in the boardroom of the Metro Vancouver headquarters (near Metrotown) in Burnaby.

Public Hearing
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Where: Metro Vancouver Boardroom
(28th Floor Boardroom, Metrotower III, 4515 Central Boulevard, Burnaby, BC)
Purpose: to hear from the public on MVRD Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 1339, 2022
The…

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Proposed LNG production/storage increase and export from jetty at Tilbury Island: Building the perfect storm

Article by Peter van der Velden. See bottom for info about July 30.

Photo: Aftermath of explosion at LNG storage site in Plymouth, Washington, in 2014. Photo from “Failure Investigation Report,” PHMSA, 2016.

Building the perfect storm: Are our governments once again set to fail us?

Proposed LNG production/storage increase and export of LNG from Tilbury Island proposed jetty

  1. Two separate proposals: -Expansion of the LNG operations and the construction of the jetty
  2. Current Assessment Acts and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
  3. Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement
  4. Fortis plans to build a shipping terminal (jetty) directly across from the Richmond Jet Fuel terminal
  5. Location and international safety standards
  6. Bunkering and the viability of export
  7. Costs: Government subsidies to the LNG industry
  8. The environment: City of Richmond council opposes proposal
  9. The application to BCUC to charge ratepayers for $780 million tank enlargement costs
  10. Some conclusions
  11. How do we proceed

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1. Two separate proposals: Expansion of the LNG operations and construction of the jetty

FortisBC has two separate proposals registered under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; expansion of the LNG terminal on the Fraser River and construction of an LNG shipping terminal (called a jetty). Both proposals will put the communities of Richmond and Delta in harm’s way.

 A Fortis LNG terminal has been in existence at Tilbury Island since 1971. There has been some recent expansion and Fortis is once again applying to increase their operation.

The first proposal is to:

Multiply storage capacity more than seven-fold

Increase production to 2.5 million tonnes of LNG annually

These increases are massive. In this location the proposals are a perfect storm waiting to happen. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBAgvXPw1aI)

Fortis wants to increase the production of LNG for the purposes of Export and Bunkering. This includes the logistics of loading fuel as well as distributing it to bunker tanks and exporting the product. Hence the need for the second proposal to:

Build a jetty to load tankers with LNG for export

An integral part of the expansion proposal is the construction of a shipping terminal -called a jetty- for loading LNG ships for export. Though very much related, the LNG Jetty Project and the expansion of the FortisBC Tilbury LNG Plant are being reviewed as independent projects.

There are so many issues with these proposals, it is hard to know where to start. At the forefront are issues of health and safety, and environment.

(a) Health and Safety

The health and safety risks involved in the handling and storage of LNG are well documented. The Pembina institute states that as much as 30% of the production losses of LNG happen at the terminal. The damage caused to the environment by the lost gas is almost as damaging as that of burning the fuel.

The dangers in handling, storing and loading LNG onto ships are extremely high in this location. The location of the plant does not meet international safety guidelines. Worse yet, the jetty is located directly across the Fraser from the jet fuel storage facility in Richmond. The LNG freighters will have to pass close to the populated areas of Delta and Richmond as well as the Tsawwassen First Nation. Turning these giant vessels once filled will have them pass dangerously close to the jet fuel tanks located on the Richmond side of the Fraser. This channel is considered too narrow and unsafe by LNG industry group SIGTTO (The Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators). This channel will not allow these ships to stay clear of populated areas nor of other marine traffic.

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International Noise Awareness Day, April 28: SILENCE! Today at 2:15 pm for one minute

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

Preamble: Many Vancouverites love their right to quiet. Surprise! Today is the 26th Annual International Noise Awareness Day! See press release from the Right to Quiet Society below.

Over the years, CityHallWatch has covered the issues of noise vs quiet a number of times. From the media you can clearly see that residents do love their quiet and have various concerns about various noise sources (traffic, parties, boats on the water, amplifiers and buskers, loud cars/trucks/motorcycles, leaf blowers, and more). We know that people do pay attention to the sound environment. Just yesterday, social media were ablaze within seconds after they heard two CF-18 fighter jets fly over Vancouver (see CBC article). More and more scientific research is coming out about the human health benefits of quiet and the ability to have access to natural sounds. And about the need for quiet for all forms of wildlife, even insects…

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Petition: Say “No” To Roberts Bank Container Terminal Two (RBT2) in Delta (by Dec 2)

We are sharing this poster from Against Port Expansion with our readers. If you care, take action to oppose Terminal 2 by signing the petition to the House of Commons:
https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-2828


Say “No” To Roberts Bank Container Terminal Two (RBT2) in Delta

Will the estuary remain a home to birds, salmon whales and wildlife? Not if Terminal 2 is built:

  • Endangered Orca Whales further threatened, perhaps driving them to extinction.
  • Already declining Fraser River salmon stocks further depleted
  • Destruction of critical feeding grounds for millions of migratory shorebirds of the Pacific Flyway, Canada’s Most Important Bird Area.

Wildlife Habitat will be destroyed – caused by a Not Needed Man-Made Island for Terminal 2

The Lower Fraser River and Estuary has already lost over 80% of its natural habitat. RBT2 is the tipping point.

Tell the Trudeau Government and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to reject the second Container Terminal on Roberts Bank that:

  • Requires dredging and filling the estuary for a new man-made island – the size of 250 football fields – 9 times the size of Granville Island.
  • Doubles port truck traffic on highways and through the Massey tunnel.
  • Increases air, noise and light pollution in Ladner and Tsawwassen.
  • Industrializes our communities and puts scarce farmland at greater risk.
  • Will cost $3.5 to $4.0 billion of taxpayer funds
  • Lacks economic justification (West Coast Canada already has sufficient terminal expansions elsewhere to satisfy container trading needs for years to come).

If you care, take action to oppose Terminal 2 Sign the petition to the House of Commons:
https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-2828

And Support the Cities of Delta and Richmond who have already voted to oppose Terminal 2.

For more information visit www.againstportexpansion.org

The link to the petition is on the home page – Online Petition

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URGENT: Deadline for input into Tilbury Phase 2 LNG is July 16, 2020 (Thurs)

URGENT: Deadline is Thurs. July 16, 2020, for input into Tilbury Phase 2 LNG

Lack of transparency in plans for massive LNG production and export in the Fraser River Estuary

The Governments of Canada and B.C. have facilitated incremental LNG developments over the past 7 years without public input and without disclosing and assessing the impacts of the full-scale plan. 

ACT NOW to tell the Governments that it is unacceptable for FortisBC to further expand LNG production by a factor of 15 and more than triple LNG storage on Tilbury Island in Delta, B.C.   This is part of the plan to permit LNG tankers on the lower Fraser River to export up to 3 million tonnes of LNG per year.  This is in contravention of international safety standards which have not been adopted by Canada.

If built, the $3 billion Phase 2 expansion would mean the Tilbury Island LNG plant would produce 1.4 times more LNG than the Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish.

FortisBC claims the plans on the adjacent property for a LNG export marine terminal are “separate and distinct” from the Tilbury LNG expansions.  This is ludicrous as the documents for the Marine Terminal state they plan to export the Tilbury LNG.  Just this June, it was announced that FortisBC and Seaspan have become owners of the LNG export terminal project.

The full-scale plan for production, storage and export should have been disclosed and assessed under one cumulative environmental effects assessment 7 years ago. Continue reading

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Help orcas and wild Pacific salmon: Deadline TODAY for public input on upgrade to Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant (Metro Vancouver)

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

orca in body of water Photo by Andre Estevez on Pexels.com

grayscale photo of body of water Photo by Andre Estevez on Pexels.com

Here is a topic on which more public support could make a big difference for many decades to come. A crucial deadline for public input is today, June 8, 2020. Below we share an e-mail from Celia Brauer, staff member and co-founder of the False Creek Watershed Society. See our previous post on this topic here.

This topic is relevant to everyone in Vancouver and Metro Vancouver, as much of our sewage flows to this treatment plant. Links to extensive reference material are provided further below.

To provide your input into the consultation, please click this link or write a direct e-mail.

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E-mail from Celia Brauer, False Creek Watershed Society (www.falsecreekwatershed.org)

June 3, 2020

Hello Water…

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Important Metro Vancouver online meetings on upgrades to Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant (19+21 May, 2020). You can help orcas and wild Pacific salmon!

Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, GSA 2020Metro Vancouver’ is holding two online community meetings (same content, one in afternoon, one in evening) on the upgrade to the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 12:00 to 2:00 pm
Thursday, May 21, 2020, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

See the agendas and register online here on Metro Vancouver website.

Why is this important? Much of the sewage and wastewater from Vancouver ends up being treated here before being discharged into the Salish Sea. Your voice can help make it better. Read on!

The meetings are for the Project Definition Phase of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Project.

Learn about the design concepts for the new plant and give feedback on community and park integration, and habitat enhancement and resource recovery opportunities. Each meeting will have the same presentations, with time for questions and discussion.

Here is an excerpt from a notice by the Georgia Straight Alliance.

Share how better wastewater treatment can protect the Salish Sea

An upcoming upgrade to Metro Vancouver’s largest wastewater treatment facility, the Iona Island Plant, is presenting an exceptionally rare opportunity to tackle a significant source of pollution to the Salish Sea. The Iona Plant’s outflow is discharged directly into the Salish Sea at the mouth of the Fraser River. Without advanced tertiary treatment, this effluent carries toxic contaminants and microplastics directly into habitat critical for endangered Southern Resident orcas and wild Pacific salmon. These contaminants are known to disrupt the reproductive and developmental health of these iconic species, and it’s vital that we take quick action to reduce the Iona Plant’s impact on the Salish Sea and its inhabitants. Continue reading

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