British Columbia·Updated

Skeena River missing from liquefied natural gas project map

An environmental group says an incorrect map may have misled the public about a proposed liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency says it has re-opened public comment period until Sept. 20

The Skeena River should appear on this project map alongside the red line between Terrace and the areas of Haysport and Port Essington. (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) (CBC)

An environmental group says an incorrect map may have misled the public about a proposed liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert. 

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Office is currently reviewing the Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility and marine terminal.

The project originally omitted the Skeena River — a major river near the proposed plant — from a map in its review application. 

The incorrect map was posted on the assessment office's website while it was seeking public comments and applications to participate in the review process. Those original deadlines have now passed. 

Jessica Clogg, the executive director of West Coast Environmental Law, fears the mistake may have influenced some people's decision about whether to participate in the review.

"It was supposed to allow citizens to consider whether they would be impacted, or whether values they care about would be impacted, and whether they wanted to have their voice heard," she said.

"And there is a risk that people made a decision on the basis of incorrect information."

Clogg is calling on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Office to extend the deadlines.

A spokesperson for the office says it is reviewing the request.

The company that created the map says the missing Skeena River was the result of a "technical error."

On Wednesday, the agency said that because of the confusion the map created, it was re-opening the public comment period on the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines until Sept. 20. It also said it would consider applications under the Participant Funding Program until that time.

The agency said it has made both the original map and the new, revised map, available on its website, along with a note explaining the change. 

The proposed natural gas project would see a $25-billion facility built off the coast of northwestern B.C.

Pacific NorthWest LNG plans to build three so-called trains, the cooling units where the liquefication of gas occurs, on Lelu Island in the Port Edward district south of Prince Rupert.

The site will be used to liquefy and export natural gas produced by Calgary-based Progress Energy Canada.

The trains will eventually produce six million tonnes of LNG per year each for about 25 years, with a total capacity of 19.68 million tonnes a year when all trains are functioning at 100 per cent, which is rarely the case.

The project would also see a 750-kilometre pipeline constructed to supply gas to the plant.