The Environmental Controversy Vs. Economic Benefits of the Pacific Northwest LNG Project
The decision has created a good deal of controversy as concerns arise that the enormous facility might have a strong impact on the environment. Pacific Northwest is adamant that the project will be conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner, but there are still many questions, along with 190 conditions imposed by the government that must be resolved before the project can move forward.
The Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency calculated that the projected construction would emit up to 8.7 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, which would make it one of the largest GHG emitters nationwide.
However, the Federal government has mandated that the world-scale export facility must create no more than 4.3 megatonnes of GHG once operational, a feat that experts believe should be possible by utilizing hydroelectricity instead of natural gas for international transport.
Another hotly debated topic is the concern from some First Nations groups and environmentalists that the Salmon population could be affected by the terminal, which would be built on Lelu Island where the Skeena River estuary and eelgrass beds around Flora Bank serve as a significant rearing habitat for juvenile salmon. Pacific Northwest insists that the export terminal will not significantly affect the fish’s habitat because the infrastructure will not be built on Flora Bank, but the government has mandated that the area be closely monitored for any changes resulting from the terminal and ensuing vessel traffic.
From an economic standpoint, the project could be a breath of fresh air for Canada’s sluggish economy. Pacific Northwest LNG claims the terminal will contribute 2.9 billion to the annual GDP, and 1.3 billion annually will be paid in taxes and royalties to federal, provincial, and municipal governments. These contributions could mean nationwide improvements in Canada’s healthcare, education, and transportation sectors.
The facility’s construction will also create thousands of jobs, including 330 local, permanent careers involved in operating the facility and as many as 4,500 jobs during the facility’s construction for tradespeople, labourers, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, and engineers.
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