British Columbia

Squamish Woodfibre LNG project opponents angry over federal environmental approval

An environmental group fighting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish says it's disappointed with the latest thumbs-up for the project.

Thousands of opponents say they feel 'snubbed'

Dozens of boats gathered in Howe Sound near Horeshoe Bay in July 2015 as part of a protest against the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish. (CBC)

An environmental group fighting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish says it's disappointed with the latest thumbs-up for the project. 

On Friday federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna approved an environmental assessment done by the province on behalf of both levels of government, subject to certain conditions.

McKenna called the environmental assessment "thorough and science-based,"and said the LNG plant is unlikely to cause significant harm.

The decision includes a list of legally-binding conditions the company building the plant must meet, including mitigating impact on fish habitat and implementing noise and air emission reduction measures.

But the members of the group My Sea to Sky say they feel "snubbed" by the approval.

"We had expected better from this new government," co-founder Eoin Finn said Monday.

"They promised the greenhouse gas footprint would be much improved under their jurisdiction and this is a step in the wrong direction," said Finn.  

The group claims the plant will damage the Howe Sound environment, hurt tourism, and doesn't fit into the future of Squamish.

Finn also disagrees with the how the environmental assessment was conducted.

"There was no peer-review, no opportunity to cross examine the evidence presented, and all of the science was funded and paid for by the proponent."

The project has attracted a number of protests and petitions since it was first proposed. According to the group My Sea to Sky, nearly 9,000 people signed a petition against it, and hundreds of residents voiced opposition at three recent town hall meetings.  

Houston-based company KBR Inc announced Monday it will start engineering and design work for the proposed project north of Vancouver, but the project still needs approval from Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


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