Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mike Harcourt just gets it wrong. So wrong.

I love Mike Harcourt.  Terrific guy. My wife's first boos when we moved to BC. But he is so so wrong on this:

 Opinion: Woodfibre LNG on the correct track: During my time as premier of British Columbia, I had three basic ground rules to encourage growth and development in the province: treat workers with respect, pay your fair share of taxes and don’t mess with the environment.
Even by Mike's standards, WoodfibreLNG fails.  Treat workers with respect?  This plant will be built overseas and shipped here to be assembled at Woodfibre.  WLNG has applied for permission to employ temporary foreign workers to assemble it and ultimately operate it.  We have no trained LNG assembly and operations workers in BC.  We have chosen to support an industry that supports 100 full time jobs, almost none of them local.  BC workers will not be employed by this.

Pay your fair share of taxes? Ridiculous.  Not only is WLNG's owner a convicted tax evader, but the royalty scheme for this project is so light that it will probably end up COSTING BC taxpayers to get it going.  Eoin Finn puts is best when he says that we are getting into LNG at a time when the future is actually in renewables.  The price of LNG is diving downward and the tax revenues we get (paid on profits, not tonnes of gas) will be minimal, if they aren't somehow laundered through Tanoto's network of shell companies and tax havens.

Don't mess with the environment?  The biggest Howe Sound herring spawn in recent memory is happening right now, and right by the Woodfibre site.  Woodfibre LNG will pour 17 swimming pools of heated and chlorinated water into that very part of the Sound EVERY HOUR.  And as for environmental protections neither international shipping standards nor the SIGTTO (The Society of International Gas Transporters and Terminal Operators) standards permit or advise terminals to be located in narrow inlets full of commercial, recreational and ferry traffic.  This is why Woodfibre LNG will not even join it's international industry association, because this proposal would be in violation of those standards.  Woodfibre LNG likes to boast of the safety of shipping LNG, but those safety records are the results of industry and international standards being adhered to. You cannot simply ignore them all and yet still base your proposal on the past safety record.

Mike Harcourt is deeply wrong on this.  We may or may not need LNG (why are we creating an economic plan based on extractive industries that combust fossil fuels again, when we could be pouring ourselves in the development of renewable technologies and become a world leader in an industry that will only grow for as long as there are humans?) but we do not need this plant in this place owned by this man.