Howe Sound is coming back to life... but...
Woodfibre LNG poses a significant risk to the health of our environment. Howe Sound is only now recovering from decades of industrial pollution, and we have spent millions of tax-payer dollars cleaning up these toxic legacies from industry. We’re seeing the herring return, and the whales and dolphins are following them after 50 years away from Howe Sound.
Woodfibre LNG could change that trajectory.
Howe Sound’s watersheds provide an estimated $800 million to $4.7 billion in natural services to the region each year, according to a report released by the David Suzuki Foundation. The report, Sound Investment: Measuring the Return on Howe Sound’s Ecosystem Assets, shows an astounding trove of unrecognized — and undervalued — natural wealth in the Howe Sound region of B.C., comparable to industries such as mining and quarrying, which contributed $3.38 billion to B.C.’s industrial GDP in 2011.
The report estimates values for 11 of nature’s ecosystem services, including stabilizing climate, protecting communities from natural disasters and offering places for recreation and spending time in nature. The highest valued services were tourism and recreation (valued at a maximum of $304,000/hectare/year) and storm prevention (valued at a maximum of $84,000/hectare/year), a particularly important service in the face of climate change.
Many have noted the remarkable marine revival we’ve seen in the sound following decades of clean-up efforts to address the legacy of industrial pollution. The report found that the highest valued ecosystems are all near-shore environments (beaches, wetlands, and eelgrass beds). However, several industrial proposals, including a liquefied natural gas project, plan to site their operations on these near-shore ecosystems.
The report makes a compelling case that industrial resurgence and nature recovery in Howe Sound should be considered together, not in the current piecemeal approach that may be setting them on a collision course.
The once-through seawater cooling system proposed by Woodfibre LNG is unacceptable. They want to suck up 17,000 tonnes of seawater from Howe Sound every hour, chlorinate it, heat it, and then spit it back out into the sound. This method has been banned in California and several other places as it is very damaging to marine life such as juvenile salmon, herring, and plankton which are the building blocks for all other life in Howe Sound. They want to dump 17,000 tonnes of hot, chlorinated sea water every single hour which is equivalent to 7 Olympic-sized 50-meter swimming pools. This will likely reverse the recent revival of marine life in Howe Sound.