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Public comment for Woodfibre LNG project open until March 1

The project has been hotly-debated for the risk it may pose to local marine life, which has made a slow recovery since the closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill in 2006.

Squamish Chief, Woodfibre LNG, FortisBC, Howe Sound, tanker traffic
An image of the captivating Squamish Chief, near the site of the proposed Woodfibre LNG project. Photo by Explore Squamish.

The federal government is opening up the floor to public commentary on the controversial Woodfibre LNG project.

If given final approval, the $1.6-billion processing and export facility would be built at the former Woodfibre pulp mill site, roughly seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, B.C. It would produce roughly 2.1 million tonnes of liquified natural gas per year and result in up to four new tankers travelling through shipping lanes in Howe Sound per month.

The project has been hotly-debated due to the risk it may pose to local whale, dolphin, salmon, herring and shellfish populations, which have slowly been returning to Howe Sound since the closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill in 2006 and the upgrading of waste water treatment plants at the nearby Port Mellon pulp mill and Britannia Beach mine site.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is now asking for citizens to comment on the analysis of its potential emissions, which found that the project's direct emissions would be low compared to other proposed projects due to its use of electricity from the grid rather than natural-gas-driven turbines.

The study itself is a direct result of the Liberal government's commitment to toughen its reviews on energy projects by including traditional Indigenous knowledge and considering their potential impacts on climate change. According to the CEAA, comments received will help inform the Environment and Climate Change Canada's determination as to whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The deadline for submitting written comments in March 1, 2016. For more information, see the CEAA website.

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