Woodfibre LNG has been awfully quiet lately. What exactly have they been up to? And what are we doing to stop them? Here's the update:
What has Woodfibre LNG been up to?
Most of the Squamish-based staff at Woodfibre LNG have either quit or been fired. The downtown office is closed most of the time. This is the sign on the door:
We received word from an insider that Alex Taimuri, the project engineer, resigned in late September, saying that “It’s time for me to go.”
There have been no updates on the Woodfibre LNG website since July 12th. There are still no jobs listed on the site.
Byng Giraud was spotted at a First Nations Leadership Gathering in early September. This pic was posted on Premier Horgan's twitter account. Hard to say whether Byng succeeded in schmoozing with NDP folks, but it's highly likely.
So what does the new NDP government think about LNG? Unfortunately, we have a bit of work to do, as Premier John Horgan recently donned a hard hat and made this comment:
“(LNG is) good for the people of the northwest. It’s also good for the people of B.C.,” the premier told the TV reporter. “It sends a signal to the investment community that we are open for business. We have natural resources in abundance. When you see fluid liquids like propane and butane being exported in large quantities to markets overseas, I believe that’s a kick start for the LNG sector as well.”
Meanwhile, Woodfibre LNG is still working hard to make the project viable given the current economics for LNG by asking for even more tax breaks. Jennifer Siddon, Associate Vice President of Corporate Communications for Woodfibre LNG, recently said in an interview that:
"Woodfibre (LNG) is seeking help from both provincial and federal governments to give it a competitive advantage. Siddon pointed to tax breaks on electricity costs, as the project would be hydro powered, and the relaxing of import tariffs on fabricated steel components as measures government could take to help the project move ahead."
Looks like they need some help with that... so they've hired Moe Sihota as a lobbyist...
The good news is that Woodfibre LNG has announced that they are delaying construction till 2018. Apparently even with $43.5 million every year in electricity subsidies (that you'll be paying for out of your pocket by the way) the project still isn't viable.
However things are still moving forward: the company announced that the "dual front-end engineering process by KBR Inc and JGC Corp was complete, and that the company would be moving to the next stage of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) with Houston-based KBR."
We think it's an important side note that for all the promises of Canadian jobs, Woodfibre LNG is hiring Houston-based consultants. Surprise! Erm, not so much. We said from the beginning that Canadians don't have the experience to develop LNG, and Woodfibre LNG acknowledged this in their Environmental Assessment application.
Woodfibre LNG doesn't want to support Canadian steelworkers either. Instead, they want to pre-fabricate the components overseas and ship them in. Catch is, they may not be able to afford to do that anymore, thanks to a new anti-dumping tariff of up to 45.8 per cent against fabricated industrial steel components. Lobbyists from the BC LNG alliance are up in arms about the tariff, stating that it "will wipe out efforts to control costs, effectively forcing the outright cancellation of multibillion-dollar plans."
We're pretty happy about that: why should Canada keep subsidizing the LNG industry if it’s not economically viable, doesn't want to pay it's fair share of taxes or electricity costs, and isn't supporting Canadian workers?
Here are five things we're planning to stop Woodfibre LNG:
1. We're delivering 16,000 signatures on the Howe Sound Declaration to the new NDP government
We're planning to deliver the declaration (for the fourth time) to every MLA in BC, with a one-pager explaining why Woodfibre LNG is a bad deal for BC. We need to make it clear that there is no social license for Woodfibre LNG. If you'd like to help us deliver the declarations in person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. We're working to cancel the Provincial LNG subsidies and tax breaks
We are engaging directly with the new Provincial government to call for the subsidies that have been granted to Woodfibre LNG to be cancelled. Woodfibre LNG is already struggling to make the project viable, despite receiving tens of millions of dollars in electricity subsidies and tax breaks, so if we can eliminate these subsidies the project will stall.
One of our amazing volunteers, Chris Pettingill, explains in this letter to the editor how Woodfibre LNG's business model is to take money from BC taxpayers through a series of subsidies and tax breaks.
3. We're calling on the Federal government to set up strict regulations on LNG tanker traffic
We are partnering with Skeena Wild, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, Friends of Digby Island, and Saanich Inlet Network to ask the Federal government to:
- Develop a transparent and well-justified site and waterway pre-screening process for LNG proposals;
- Establish enforceable security procedures to address the risk of deliberate attack on LNG facilities and tankers; and
- Create a robust preparedness and response regime for ship-source incidents involving LNG, and establishing regulations for LNG bunkering.
4. We're partnering with Dogwood BC to call for a corruption inquiry
Remember the scandal surrounding illegal donations to the BC Liberals? Remember that Byng Giraud and Marian Ngo were identified in the Globe & Mail investigation by Kathy Tomlinson for allegedly making illegal donations on behalf of Woodfibre LNG? In fact, we calculated that Woodfibre LNG has donated more than $201,000 to the BC Liberals while the project was going through its environmental assessment process. This raises real concerns that Woodfibre LNG has bought a rubber stamp approval, along with other political favours including tax breaks and the e-Drive subsidy.. It’s time to break the silence and hold politicians accountable. This is why we are joining with Dogwood BC to call for a corruption inquiry. Stay tuned for that...
5. We're calling for a public inquiry into fracking
We have joined a coalition of 16 other organizations to call for a Public Inquiry to properly investigate deep social and environmental harms of fracking. If we can stop expansion of fracking in northeast BC, Woodfibre LNG won't be able to access natural gas to sell. Not that they can find any customers to buy their LNG at the moment anyway.
Tell your friends that Woodfibre LNG is NOT a done deal. We have only just begun to fight.
We can still stop Woodfibre LNG. These are only a few of the tactics we have planned. We are passionate, we are determined, and we will do whatever it takes to stop Woodfibre LNG, but we need your help. Please make a monthly donation to My Sea to Sky so we can implement the tactics we outline above and help us stop Woodfibre LNG... for good. Every dollar counts.