Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Big Plans for Delta/Fraser River Fracked Gas Terminal

LNG on the Fraser? That needs a full federal environmental assessment!

by Real LNG Hearings.org

Urgent Action Needed: Please send a comment to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency using the form by June 11 requesting a federal environmental assessment of the proposed WesPac Tilbury LNG terminal.


What is this project about?

WesPac Midstream wants to build an LNG export terminal in Delta. If approved, 120 LNG tankers and 90 LNG barges could travel the Fraser River yearly. WesPac has NEB approval and now seeks environmental assessment.

WesPac’s project description excludes consideration of LNG tanker traffic in the narrow, busy Fraser River. The company says that’s not its responsibility.

BC has requested the federal EA office turn over assessment of this project to the province. On May 22 the federal EA office asked for public comment on the need for a project EA and BC’s request to take control. Deadline for comment: June 11. (further details in links above)

What are the key concerns?

Use the form to ask federal Environment Min Aglukkaq to 1) conduct an assessment of this project and 2) reject BC’s request to substitute a provincial assessment instead.

Some key points to raise with the Minister:

Ask her to reject BC’s request for substitution. BC has thrown its full support behind LNG exports and we can’t be confident a provincial assessment will objectively evaluate project risks. Substitution is neither appropriate nor in the public interest.

Request a federal environmental assessment by review panel.

Ask that the assessment include the terminal as well as transit of LNG tankers from the terminal to Canada’s territorial sea limit.

Ask that the assessment consider:

  • an evaluation of terminal location according to internationally recognized SIGTTO siting standards or their equivalent;
  • a Waterway Suitability Assessment equivalent to that required by the US Department of Homeland Security and US Coast Guard, including a 3.5 km hazard zone on both sides of the entire LNG tanker route;
  • an explicit assessment of risks posed by intentional acts (i.e. terrorism) as required in the United States;
  • an assessment of project impacts on the climate, including extraction, compression and transport of the natural gas.

Our time is short! Please write today, and encourage others to write as well. It’s crucial we convince the Minister to commit to a full review of this proposal. Her decision will be influenced by the number of comments received.

All comments sent through this site will be posted here to create a public record of concern about this project.

LNG on the Fraser requires careful hazard zone assessment

In the US, LNG proponents need to assess potential hazards all along LNG tanker routes. Not so in BC. On the map here we’ve superimposed hazard zones used by the Department of Homeland Security/US Coast Guard during review of LNG proposals in the US onto the tanker route from the proposed Tilbury LNG site on the Fraser River. Scroll out to see the entire route to international waters. Zoom in to see where the hazard zones fall in Richmond, Delta and the Gulf Islands. Switch the map to full screen using the button at left.

Requiring LNG proponents to conduct hazard zone mapping allows government regulators to assess risks to public safety and property along LNG tanker routes. Please write to federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq today to require this level of LNG risk assessment here in BC.

The hazard zone guidelines reflect a worst case scenario — the complete loss of LNG containment due to an intentional act. Summary description:

  • 500 m zone: extreme hazard of combustion and thermal damage from pool fire if evaporating LNG is ignited. Cryogenic burns and structural damage from exposure to supercooled LNG. Asphyxiation hazard for those exposed to expanding LNG vapor plume.
  • 1600 m zone: hazards as for the 500 m zone, with severity of consequences declining over distance.
  • 3500 m zone: conservative maximum distance within which an expanding LNG vapour cloud may still ignite if in contact with a source of ignition. Resulting fireball would burn back to the spill source and could cause intense pool fire.

Further details on hazard zones and waterway suitability assessments required in the United States — but not in Canada — found here.

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