Delta to get say in LNG assessment

Municipality will be invited to take part in the environmental assessment of WesPac's proposal

Delta will be invited to participate in the environmental assessment of the proposed WesPac Midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Tilbury.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office recently offered that assurance to the mayor and Delta council as the marine jetty on the Fraser River will undergo a provincial environmental assessment.

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The EAO informed Delta an environmental assessment has been initiated and an advisory group, consisting of representatives from provincial, federal and local governments and First Nations, will be established to provide technical advice on issues and potential affects.

WesPac Midstream Vancouver LLC, a division

of Texas-based WesPac Midstream LLC, has already received permission from the National Energy Board for a 25-year natural gas export license. Subject to final approval, the new marine terminal, adjacent to the existing FortisBC LNG

plant, which is undergoing a major expansion, would export up to 116 billion cubic metres of gas. The supply of LNG for the project would

come via a pipeline from the FortisBC plant.

The proposed jetty would include a dock and loading platform with a berth for docking a single LNG barge or carrier.

The company says the site was selected because it is on an established shipping

route and is located in an existing industrial marine area that already contains marine jetties on adjacent sites.

"The site was previously used for industrial marine functions as the former Weyerhaeuser Northwest

Hardwood Mill," WesPac states.

"The project will improve the ecology of the existing site by restoring the shoreline

adjacent to the jetty where it was disturbed by previous activities."

The EAO has submitted a request to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for substitution of the environmental assessment of the project. The B.C. Ministry of

Environment noted that a substituted environmental assessment means the province's EAO conducts a single process that meets all federal and provincial requirements. Experts from federal departments still participate in the substituted process.

A spokesperson for the ministry told the Optimist a substituted environmental assessment reduces duplication and increases efficiencies for everyone involved, while maintaining a rigorous and thorough review process.

"As we are in the very early stages of the environmental assessment, we have not yet set the dates for public consultation or determined the composition of the working group," the ministry states.

The federal government last week confirmed it has made the province the lead in the assessment, a development

Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington describes as a disappointment.

"We had wanted a review that might look at the broader impacts given the new threat to farmland," Huntington said.

"As I said in my MLA Report, industry's continuing harassment of our agricultural industry and our farmers is absolutely unacceptable and we need to stop it in its tracks from this point on," she said.

"But that will take a community united like never before. It is only the beginning of the second assault on the ALR in Delta."

The advocacy group Voters Taking Action on Climate Change has been calling for a full federal environmental assessment, including an assessment of the risks associated with LNG tanker traffic on the Fraser River.

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