Cumulative Impacts

2014 UBCM passes resolution calling for a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment

Why is a comprhensive assessment important?

  • There are more than 12 LNG projects proposed for Northern BC and there has been no coordinated assessment or comprehensive planning.

  • From gas wells to tankers, LNG could represent economic and employment opportunities, but will have cumulative impacts on Northern communities, salmon, and air quality. These benefits and costs are not yet fully understood.

  • Last year the Select Standing Committee on Finance recognized this need and recommended that the provincial government, “Consider a strategic, cumulative environmental assessment of LNG projects in northwest BC …”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM request that the Province of BC and First Nations convene and co-chair a strategic economic and environmental impact assessment of LNG development in British Columbia;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UBCM request that the Province and First Nations invite the federal government to participate in this joint planning process.

To date, each project is being considered in isolation. There is a separate environmental assessment for each facility and each pipeline, and there will be no assessment of the thousands of new gas wells or water required for fracking in Northeast BC. Each component of each project is being assessed without acknowledging the others.

This lack of comprehensive review raises many questions about cumulative impacts: How will the thousands of wells impact freshwater resources? How much pollution can the confined Kitimat air shed withstand? What are the wildlife impacts with five separate linear pipeline corridors? How will a large increase in GHG emissions affect climate change? What are the potential consequences to our human health and the health of our communities? Will our existing local economies be impacted?

Realizing there is a need for a comprehensive assessment, the Northwest Institute officially requested a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment last year.

Request for a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment of LNG development

In August, 2013, the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria on behalf of the Northwest Institute, submitted a request to BC and Canada’s Environment Ministers (Mary Polak and Leona Aglukkaq, respectively) for a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment to be conducted.

In late October, the Northwest Institute received a response from the Ministers, who both stated they are confident in BC’s environmental assessment processes for proposed LNG projects and therefore a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment is not needed.

To date, there are no assessments under way to evaluate the cumulative impacts of LNG development in BC.

Related Resources

Request for a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment: Backgrounder

Calvin Sandborn et al. | UVic Environmental Law Centre | 2013

This backgrounder accompanied a request made by the Northwest Institute to the provincial and federal governments for a Strategic Economic and Environmental Assessment of LNG development in BC. It outlines the serious economic and environmental risks to the current ad hoc development of LNG. The UVic Environmental Law Centre pose fundamental questions global market realities, impacts to wildlife, output of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and what negative economic impacts local consumers and other sectors may experience.