Pollution limits already raised for Kitimat smelter

Skeena MLA Robin Austin says Rio Tinto-Alcan expansion will increase sulphur dioxide even before other industry gets going

LNG tankers

With a 50-per-cent increase in sulphur dioxide emissions already approved for an expanded aluminum smelter in Kitimat, a study of further emission impacts is urgently needed, Skeena MLA Robin Austin says.

Austin was responding to the B.C. government’s announcement Thursday that it is doing an air quality study as the province prepares for liquefied natural gas expansion. He said the first indication of the study came in July when he questioned Rich Coleman, the minister for natural gas development, about the impacts of his aggressive plan for LNG exports to Asia.

A key part of the $650,000 study is the level of sulphur dioxide from proposed LNG production, as well as gas-fired power plants and a proposed oil port. The gas, a byproduct of fossil fuel use, converts to sulphuric acid and can affect the environment in higher concentrations.

Environment Minister Mary Polak said the studies will help guide the government in setting regulations for the companies.

“None of [the proposed projects] have their certificate yet, that’s later on in the process,” Polak said. “What is really important for us to do is to make sure we’re looking at not just at each individual project but understanding how they will fit into the puzzle with respect to the total emissions from the project when they’re all built out, potentially.”

The study is said to focus on sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from the facilities. The study will assess the impact of emissions, including their potential effects on water and soil as well as on vegetation and human health from direct exposure.

A request for proposals to conduct the study will be issued, and Polak said she expects the work on the study to conclude in March 2014.

Austin said LNG investors have indicated they will not make final decisions until the end of 2014 at the earliest, so there is time to complete the study.

“It’s part of the planning that needs to take place up here on a whole variety of things,” Austin said. “Nobody wants to see us end up like Fort McMurray, which got completely overrun with all kinds of social problems.”

Just Posted

Smithers council reverses CT scan vote

Council unanimously waives all off-site works for hospital renovation.

To get to the other side

Access Smithers, Seniors’ Advocate, and Smithers mayor say crosswalk lights to short.

BVCS special education students enrich the community

Time that all students aren’t a full part of the community is gone.

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Northwest guides celebrated

The belt buckles were handed out at the Northwest Guide Outfitters Association’s AGM in Smithers.

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Most Read