Survey work is performed on fish in the Lelu Island area where Pacific NorthWest LNG is proposing to build its export terminal.

GHGs, harbour porpoise effects can be mitigated: PNW president

Pacific NorthWest LNG president Michael Culbert shared some details over the company’s plans after the CEAA report was released.

Pacific NorthWest LNG president Michael Culbert shared some details last week over the company’s plans moving forward after the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) report was released in February.

Following the report’s advisory that adverse environmental effects may be caused to harbour porpoise in the area due to sound concerns, and that the area would experience adverse effects due to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), Culbert detailed the company’s initial response.

“In the case of porpoises, absolutely we will have ideas as to what can be done to mitigate noise as far as that construction process goes,” said the president, adding that the company understands the sound threat to be temporary, with the adverse sounds ceasing once the facility is operational.

“On the greenhouse gases, we have submitted, and it was included in the report, that through technology improvement and design, we’ve actually reduced the GHGs associated with our original design … In addition to that and in addition to the way the federal government would like to look at GHGs, we were also asked to comment on our natural gas supply, which is coming from the Montney Shale Gas Basin in northeast British Columbia,” said Culbert.

“And the good news there – on average the Montney formation has significantly less GHGs than the average North American natural gas supply, so again we’re targeting a formation development of that unconventional ‘geogas’, as it’s referred to, which is very low on GHGs. So, all in all the GHGs are some of the lowest that we can possibly achieve in Canada both in technology of the LNG facility as well as the selection of a natural gas supply.”

The president added that the company would look into buying or building offsets under the carbon offset program developed by the Province of B.C. down the road when the credit system is more fleshed out.

The company will continue its dialogue with First Nations in the area by facilitating long-term environmental monitoring measures with weather, storm and fish data all the way through the construction phase and into the lifespan of the terminal.

“The discussions with First Nations are ongoing and sharing of information and collaborative discussions continue on all fronts with all the First Nations. So I think we’ve got some positive support from the First Nations Chiefs and that’s very much appreciated,” said Culbert.

Pacific NorthWest LNG will now wait for the 30-day public input period to be completed on March 11, followed by CEAA preparing a final report and submitting it to the Minister of Environment. Following her decision on the project’s effects, the project will go to review under the federal Cabinet in Ottawa.