Squamish Nation sets conditions on LNG facility

Woodfibre LNG would have to meet five major conditions to get the Nation’s nod

The Squamish Nation has laid out its top five conditions that have to be met before it will give its nod to the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility in Squamish.

Those who support the liquefied natural gas industry in B.C. will likely say the Nation has given a qualified yes and those in the no camp will say it is a strong no, unless. 

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Either way, the Squamish Nation is having its say on LNG.

“Call them the Top Five,” said Nation lawyer Aaron Bruce in a news release Saturday. “Bottom line here is that Squamish Nation will simply not approve the Woodfibre LNG proposal unless all of these conditions are addressed and resolved — to the Squamish Nation’s satisfaction.”

1. More information on the seawater cooling discharge system, including potential immediate and cumulative impacts upon marine life in Howe Sound from discharges of warm, chlorinated water and the potential for small fish to be harmed by the intake system. The Nation also wants information about potential alternative technologies and the impacts of those technologies upon marine life in the sound.

2. The project must avoid the Skwelwil’em Wildlife Management Area (WMA). In particular, the project proponents must commit to a drilled underground pipeline that starts outside of the WMA and exits outside the WMA -- or avoids the WMA altogether.

3. The FortisBC compressor station must be relocated to a location that poses no risk to Squamish members living on any Indian Reserve in Squamish Nation territory.

4. Nation members must have access through the Controlled Access Zone of the Project to allow for Squamish Nation practice of aboriginal rights.

5. Insurance coverage or a bond must be obtained to cover risks of personal loss and injury costs for Squamish Nation members in the event of an accident that brings harm to Nation members, such as damage from a spill, explosion or other industrial or marine accident.

Woodfibre LNG officials must be legally bound to fulfill the conditions, before the Nation will support the proposed liquefied natural gas export facility slated for about six kilometres southwest of Squamish, according to the release. “The conditions are needed to protect sensitive land and marine habitat in the Squamish estuary, in Howe Sound and beyond — all in Squamish Nation traditional territory," said Bruce.

There are 21 other Nation conditions, according to Bruce.

“Issuing these conditions is quite significant in that the Squamish Nation has been able to identify what environmental issues are important to them and determine how these issues should be addressed from its perspective. The provincial and federal EA processes simply don’t allow for that."

All 26 conditions need to be met, according to the release. The Nation will require proponents to enter into an Environmental Certificate, Bruce said. 

The Squamish Nation chiefs and council will still vote on accepting or rejecting the proposal at the end of July, according to the release.

The nation did its own independent assessment of the project. A technical review of all aspects of the project from a First Nations' point of view was done, according to a Nation spokesman.

At least four meetings were held for the Nations' 4,000 members.

The Woodfibre LNG project is currently in the Environmental Assessment process. A decision on the project by provincial ministers is expected in the fall.


This story has been edited since it was first posted.

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