Photo: The contribution
The city of Vancouver has adopted a proposal to oppose the expansion of a major liquefied natural gas plant on the Fraser River that would lead to a release of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the city’s entire annual production.
The non-binding proposal made by Coun. Christine Boyle, argues that the Tilbury LNG proposal in Delta would undermine Vancouver’s work on tackling climate change.
“I think we have to take a leadership role here and oppose this (greenhouse gas) emitting, dangerous project,” Coun said. Jean Swanson told the council on Wednesday.
The Tilbury LNG Phase Two $ 3 billion expansion project would lead to a 10-fold increase in its capacity to produce LNG.
FortisBC, which operates the Delta plant, says it needs to expand LNG capacity to feed an international market, supply gas to shipping – including BC Ferries – and offer a backup to Metro Vancouver residents during cold snaps in case of a gas pipeline outage seen in 2019.
Opponents, meanwhile, say strengthening Tilbury’s capacity threatens to throw more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and pose a number of direct risks to human health, such as the potential for a catastrophic fire in a densely populated urban area.
For Tilbury, much of the natural gas supplying the expanded terminal would come from hydraulic fracking operations in northeastern BC
LNG is essentially supercooled liquid methane. When methane leaks into the atmosphere – during production, transport or storage – it produces a heating effect that is approximately 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
This means that if the Tilbury expansion were to continue, it would lead to between 1.98 and 2.67 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, Boyle’s proposal claims. This is roughly equivalent to the 2.5 megatons of annual emissions produced by the whole of Vancouver.
The cities of Richmond and Port Moody voted to oppose the Tilbury expansion project in 2020, while Delta has not yet taken a position on it.
LNG critic Eoin Finn, meanwhile, warned the Vancouver council on Wednesday that the expanded gas facility is directly opposite a Richmond jet fuel terminal and risks triggering regional combustion.
“This is just the wrong place,” Finn told the council.
Doug Slater, FortisBC’s vice president of external and native relations, told the council the proposal was “premature and should either be rejected or postponed” because it was full of inaccuracies and did not outline the benefits of the project.
These benefits include 6000 full-time construction and 110 full-time operating jobs to keep the plant running.
“The quoted emission figures were incorrect,” he told the council.
But when the pressure of Coun. Boyle, the FortisBC representative, said the figures submitted for environmental approval only counted direct emissions from the plant and did not include methane release from upstream fracking.
“There is absolutely no room to expand the fossil fuel infrastructure,” Boyle said in his final pitch to the council. “Twenty or 30 years ago, there could have been a case of natural gas and LNG as bridge fuel in the transition ahead of us. But the bridge was until now. We have reached the end of that bridge. ”