LNG Facility in NL would be a massive step backwards: Environmental Groups

A little-known LNG project should be rejected now but at very least requires robust assessment, engagement of an arm's-length Board and public hearings.


For Immediate Release: February 4th, 2022

Decarbonize NL, the Bay St George Climate Action Network, The Council of Canadians, and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation say scientific evidence on the impacts of a proposal to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Facility and Marine Terminal at Placentia Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) mean the proposal should be rejected.

They say that the potential impacts of the natural gas project on climate targets alone mean the project should be rejected at this stage. The NL Minister of Environment has announced today that an environmental impact statement is required and appointed a governmental committee to review .

“Such a project would make NL’s provincial climate targets completely unattainable if completed and runs completely contrary to NL’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, National Programs Director. “The arguments for the project - that it would offset the use of coal power elsewhere - are inaccurate and based on the myth of natural gas being a “bridge fuel” for getting off fossil fuels. As a new fossil fuel project that will contribute to increasing, not decreasing GHG emissions, we call for the project to be rejected right now.”

“In view of our provincial commitments to climate action, environmental assessments need to consider the realistic carbon emissions of any proposed project. There should be no exceptions, for this project or any other.” - Neria Aylward, Decarbonize NL

"I am extremely disappointed to see the Placentia Bay Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Facility proposal being seriously considered,” said Graham Oliver of the Bay St George Climate Action Network. “We just have to look at the fate of other LNG projects in Canada to see why this project proposal should be rejected. The Goldboro LNG project in Nova Scotia started in 2012 has been shelved; the Quebec Government canceled the Énergie Saguenay LNG project for environmental reasons and the Kitimat LNG plant in BC has been struggling with long delays and major investors pulling out."   

The groups say that given the many short-comings of the project registration document with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Environmental Assessment Division, and the immense and unassessed impacts of the proposed under-taking, the Environmental Impact Statement, announced today is a step toward assessing the full impacts of the project but an arms-length Board and public hearings, should be required as well.

“The company consistently makes claims that this will be the cleanest LNG in the world, but there is absolutely no evidence to back up this claim,” says John Jacobs from the Council of Canadians Avalon Chapter. “In fact, LNG facilities in other places are known to be major carbon emitters. This LNG project is inconsistent with long-term projections for fossil fuel energy demand and the provinces’ own climate targets. It will be largely obsolete by the time it is completed in 2030.”

“After the proponents failing for 7 years to get any private investment for Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia, the federal government tried to sponsor and organize a billion dollar government aid package for the plant. This proposal for Placentia Bay is even more complex, and even less likely to attract private funds. It will require massive government investment packages. It is a real White Elephant in the making, as well as an environmental crime if it were built,” says Ken Summers of the Goldboro LNG Action Group.

“The idea that this project would lower emissions elsewhere is just another false statement by an industry that no longer has a long-term economic future,” says Conor Curtis, Digital Communications Coordinator with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and a researcher on the climate change impacts that face Newfoundland and Labrador.  “It is economically vital that Newfoundland and Labrador not double down on it’s investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. This project is a waste of time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.”

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation submitted a list of reasons outlining why this project is contrary to our climate targets, and to the well-being of our planet and the people of NL, to the provincial government that can read in full here: https://www.sierraclub.ca/en/2022-01-06/lng-facility-nl%C2%A0-would-be-massive-step-backwards


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