Will the information that comes from the completed environmental assessment process convince Metro Vancouver that the proposed FortisBC LNG expansion project in Delta is a good one after all?
That remains to be seen following the regional district’s board of directors’ decision last Friday (July 29) to vote in favour of a motion put forward by director, and Delta Mayor, George Harvie to defer deciding on the LNG Phase 2 Expansion Project at Tilbury until the combined provincial and federal environmental assessment is done.
However, it wasn’t unanimous.
The board at its meeting was set to vote on a recommendation from Metro’s Climate Action Committee for the regional district to convey opposition to the FortisBC Tilbury plant expansion, as well as the adjacent Tilbury Marine Jetty Project, because “of overall concerns related to upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions and inconsistency with Metro Vancouver climate targets.”
The committee last month received a report from staff critical of the projects and voted in favour of recommending to the board that Metro write to the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, B.C. Environmental Assessment Office as well as the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada to communicate opposition.
FortisBC, saying the staff report was flawed and left out important facts, also requested a referral so that additional information was gathered.
Senior project manager Andrew Hamilton made a presentation to the board citing several concerns, including the report not providing an accurate assessment of the projects and the role they will play in supporting shared regional and global climate action goals, including decarbonization of the marine sector.
Following the presentation and questions, Harvie put forward the deferral motion, saying Delta remains impartial, not making a decision to support or oppose until a public hearing, and that his city is engaging in the process to gather information.
Noting the environmental assessment process is not political, Harvie asked the board to do likewise.
“The proposed (FortisBC) project is subject to a thorough, independent and expert review process to determine the potential benefits and impacts they may have. In the case of the Tilbury Marine Jetty, the environmental assessment is nearing completion and reporting out. These are very complex issues which our staff at Delta and Metro and First Nations have engaged in for a number of years, and we need all the necessary information from the EA provides to make an informed decision about these projects. I believe having additional information and study about these projects would be appropriate before making a formal decision,” he said.
“I always support the environmental assessment regulatory process. The provincial and federal staff are very qualified and it is a non-political process.”
Harvie also noted his council made sure that the environmental assessment was done for the Port of Vancouver’s proposed Terminal 2 expansion before expressing opposition to that project to the federal government.
More information on the FortisBC’s Tilbury Phase 2 LNG Expansion Project can be found here: https://www.projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/5df7f1bfb7434b002164961c/project-details
The comment period on the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office draft assessment on the Tilbury Jetty project is open until Aug. 15.