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LETTER: Unfair LNG coverage

In an editorial on May 31, “ How will the Woodfibre LNG saga end ?,” The Chief staff took Squamish council to task for creating a “toxic relationship” with a “targeted corporate citizen:” Woodfibre LNG.

In an editorial on May 31, “How will the Woodfibre LNG saga end?,” The Chief staff took Squamish council to task for creating a “toxic relationship” with a “targeted corporate citizen:” Woodfibre LNG.

The editorial board can say what they want; that’s the nature of editorials. But this article is part of a pattern of misleading and biased coverage that extends well beyond the opinion section.

In Steven Chua’s June 9th article “Can a Squamish liquefied natural gas terminal reduce global emissions?,” a long-form piece that purports to show both sides, the arguments of Tom Gunton, director of the resource and environmental planning program at SFU, are laid side by side with statements from Woodfibre’s public relations specialist Rebecca Scott as though she and her employer are similarly impartial “experts” in the field.

Assertions like “analysis seems to disagree with him on the overall coal displacement opportunity” are stated as fact and mark the end of the discussion. David Hughes, another scientist interviewed for the piece, is almost given the last word, arguing that Woodfibre’s report fails to give a full picture of upstream emissions, but Chua made sure the PR department got a rebuttal to that, ending the article with a powerfully misleading claim: “Canadian LNG represents a significant offset of emissions.”

If The Chief wanted to present a truly fair and balanced perspective, I’d suggest they look at some of the more recent science and defer to organizations like the IPCC rather than relying on reports commissioned by Woodfibre LNG and statements from the spokesperson.

A more recent IEA report explains that upstream emissions from natural gas extraction could be dramatically reduced with relatively small investments. Where’s Woodfibre’s report on how they are working with B.C. producers to “clean” their natural gas? Where’s The Chief’s report on the emissions involved in the production of the gas Woodfibre will export? Where’s The Chief’s investigative journalism on the potential market for LNG in 2025, 2030, 2040, when Woodfibre will be at full operations?

And, where are the estimates of how much Woodfibre’s export capacity will increase total natural gas production?

Instead, we’re given a deep dive into a PR campaign masquerading as science and a series of critical pieces about the District’s efforts to prevent climate catastrophe, accusing our councillors of living in a fantasy world. Someone here is living in a fantasy world, but it’s not council.

Nick Gottlieb
Garibaldi Highlands

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