No to LNG in British Columbia
Yes to an alternative, environmentally sustainable path
Draft letter, February 20, 2014. For circulation and comment prior to public release. To comment, write to Roger Anis, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
We, the undersigned environmentalists, union members, First Nations people and concerned citizens oppose the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in British Columbia. We raise our voices to give impetus to a province-wide effort to halt these LNG projects. The benefits are too illusory and the risks are too great.
Industry and government in British Columbia propose to vastly expand the fracking of natural gas in the northeast of the province and then transport and liquefy it for export. These plans recklessly disregard the increases in climate-changing, greenhouse gas emissions that would result.
Climate science tells us that the only way to avoid runaway climate change is to keep most remaining fossil fuel in the ground. LNG from BC would not be a 'clean' energy source or desirable 'transition' fuel. According to a recent study by the Pembina Institute, the fracking, transport and liquefaction of natural gas in the BC northeast would produce greenhouse gas emissions equaling three quarters of those from the Alberta tar sands.
LNG will accelerate, not reduce, emissions in Asia. Local communities in BC would suffer irreparable harm to their air, water, wildlife and landscapes. Tourism and other local industries would suffer.
The claims of huge economic benefits resulting from LNG are not credible. In BC, we have been through similar rushes for natural resource spoils. These have left a severely damaged environment and a legacy of economic failure. Short-term and capital-intensive megaprojects do not yield stable employment and broad-based prosperity. Banking on LNG would prevent the imperative shift to renewable energies, 'green' jobs and more sustainable ways of life.
A successful campaign to stop the LNG scheme will need broad support from BC residents, especially from members of trade unions and First Nations.
Last September, leaders of the BC Federation of Labour and the BC and Yukon Territory Building Construction Trades Council joined with Premier Christy Clark in announcing a skills training program for prospective workers building LNG projects. We strongly disagree with this support for the LNG industry. We welcome the stands taken by the Unifor and CUPE national unions in opposition to shale gas fracking.
Some First Nations oppose fracking and LNG, while others have signed joint agreements with industry and government to develop the industry. We support the sovereign rights of First Nations over their territories, including their right to extract natural resources to meet their economic and social needs. However, we believe that LNG and other fossil fuel projects will fail to meet those needs.
Workers in unions, members of First Nations and environmentalists should unite in rejecting these LNG projects. We believe that an alternative, socially progressive and ecologically sustainable path is urgently needed. It can include measures like the following:
* halt LNG developments and related servicing and infrastructure
* ensure full access to education and jobs training as well as income support for workers who are displaced in the transition to an economy shifting away from fossil fuels
* implement equal opportunities for women, First Nations peoples and others who have faced discrimination in the old economy
* develop alternative, renewable energy sources under public ownership and community control
* institute programs to reduce energy consumption, build social housing and expand public transportation
* support community controlled, ecologically-sound forestry and fishing practices and promote and expand the local production of food
* expand access to child care, health care and illness prevention
LNG: Bad for people...Bad for communities...Bad for the environment...Bad for the planet. We ask you to join with us in opposing it.
Signed [organizational affiliations listed for information only],