Blog: 'Technically legal' not good enough

John French, WFLNG Community Relations Manager

April 24, 2016 - John French (pictured above), Woodfibre LNG’s Community Relations Manager, wrote hoping to assure the public that we need not to worry about the inherent risks of building an LNG export facility up Howe Sound at Woodfibre. 

We are told that safety surrounding marine traffic “will be very manageable”. We are told that their proposed seawater cooling system is “legal”: both facile assurances uttered by a corporate representative paid to issue such assurances.  It is hoped we will set aside scientifically founded concerns about both public safety and environmental risk. Why?  Because it is “legal”, that’s why! 

French is correct. Under as yet repaired Canadian environmental regulations gutted by the Harper regime, it is technically legal.  While such a project proposal wouldn’t pass muster south of the border under US laws and regulations: which were enacted based on the best scientific evidence, experience and the scrutiny of US government regulators and departments, including the US Coast Guard, under Canada’s weaker laws and much more limited experience in regulating LNG operations, Woodfibre LNG’s plans are technically legal. But is that good enough?

To put their defense of “legal” in context, one only needs to recall that the ongoing squirreling away of billions of dollars of corporate profits and large personal wealth in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes is also technically legal. Billions that could not have been earned without publicly funded infrastructure by those who happily accept publicly funded services paid for by the rest of us: free loaders if you will.

The federal Liberals need to catch up and gain an understanding at least as comprehensive as thousands of Howe Sound area citizens have. Regardless of one’s position on the wisdom of exporting LNG, Woodfibre is simply not a safe or environmentally responsible location to site an LNG export facility.


Jef Keighley,

Halfmoon Bay, BC

*Send us your letters on why you think making Howe Sound an LNG export corridor is not a good idea, send to [email protected] Please include the town which you are currently living. 


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