Will Woodfibre be ground zero in LNG battle?

It seems that those fears about explosions at liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities may have been a little overblown. Implosions must be a much greater concern to the Clark government these days with the seemingly weekly news of LNG projects being cancelled or postponed.

Premier Christy Clark must be feeling a little shell-shocked as LNG proponents pack up their bags; it’s starting to feel like old news when word that another LNG project has been put on hold, and Clark’s dream of a trillion-dollar industry and $100 billion prosperity fund begins to look like just another empty election promise. You’ve got to think that the premier and her minions are frantically looking for any sliver of hope in the remaining proposed LNG plants in B.C.

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That might just be where Squamish comes in. Woodfibre LNG seems one of the most likely “success stories” in the LNG saga, and so you can imagine that the government is going to push very hard to make it a reality before the next election.

I wasn’t surprised, then, when a local tradesperson approached me in the grocery store to tell me that the government is going to announce a “energy-sector training facility” for Squamish – not just LNG, mind you, but for the whole energy sector. I have no idea if it’s true, but it seems plausible. The roadblocks to WLNG are pretty small compared to some of the other projects, so if the financial case for building it is there, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a lot of provincial attention brought to bear.

And the attention swings both ways. I also heard – this time at another grocery store –that protesters had shown up at the Fortis drilling this month. Apparently none were from Squamish and most had had experience doing environmental protest at other flashpoints in B.C. The drilling Fortis was doing was on Industrial Way. Apparently there was enough interest from outside Squamish to have small group of people show up.

If Fortis gets approval to drill its three bore holes in the estuary, then who knows what might happen? That, coupled with a council that is at least perceived to be anti-LNG, will make for some interesting times ahead. Squamish is part of the Lower Mainland, and it isn’t a stretch to imagine a Burnaby Mountain-like protest here.

Even if we don’t see any explosions from LNG, I’m pretty sure the fireworks aren’t over yet.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief


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