rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Why the Woodfibre LNG terminal in B.C. must be stopped

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Image: Proposed Squamish LNG Plant on the Howe Sound's western shore. Image borr

On Monday, the Council of Canadians made a submission to the B.C. Environment Assessment Office calling on the B.C. government to reject the Woodfibre LNG project.

If approved the Woodfibre terminal, seven kilometres from downtown Squamish, would produce roughly 2.1 million metric tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), fracked gas that has been turned into liquid by cooling the gas to -163C. The LNG would then be shipped on tankers through Howe Sound for export.

Here's why the Council of Canadians is calling for a stop to the Woodfibre LNG project:

  • It is one of 18 proposals to build LNG terminals along the Pacific Coast and could set a dangerous precedent if approved.
  • As noted by retired KPMG consultant Eoin Finn LNG tankers are categorized under Class 2 under the Maritime Dangerous Good Code for Shipping (1 being most dangerous, 9 being least dangerous). LNG tankers are massive vessels at 300 metres long (the equivalent to three football fields), 40 metres wide and 30 metres tall, are twice as big in width and height as a B.C. ferry and pose a unique threat to coastal communities if there were to ever be an explosion or accident.
  • The Squamish Woodfibre LNG plant will be cooled by sea-water from Howe Sound and every hour will discharge 17,000 tonnes of water -- enough to fill seven Olympic-sized swimming pools -- back into the Sound at 10 degrees above that of the intake. Hypochlorite will be added to the discharge to reduce growth of marine fouling organisms such as mollusks and oysters. This mixture will be discharged into Howe Sound 24 hours per day year round. We are concerned about how this will impact the marine ecosystem of Howe Sound.
  • The gas needed for even just five LNG terminals would increase fracking in the province, have significant impact on the lakes, rivers and streams in B.C. and would more than double B.C.'s current climate footprint.

Some members of Squamish Nation are opposed to the Woodfibre LNG terminal as well as its associated FortisBC pipeline. Fracking projects are happening on Indigenous lands without respect for First Nations Treaty Rights and Title. Governments must obtain free, prior and informed consent before proceeding with fracking and related projects.

Concerned citizens groups like My Sea to Sky have been mobilizing and raising concerns about how the Woodfibre LNG would impact communities, public safety, the economy and the environment.

Hundreds of residents attended public forums on LNG including in Squamish, Delta, Vancouver, Victoria, Powell River, and Comox Valley. Community opposition to the LNG terminals is building in the province.  

The District of Squmish recently rejected an application from B.C. utility FortisBC to study the feasibility for a pipeline that would transport natural gas for export. Earlier this month FortisBC launched a legal challenge against the district of Squamish at the B.C. Supreme Court.

While Premier Christy Clark has toned down the promotion of LNG since the drop in oil prices, the province continues to explore deals with LNG companies.  If Christy Clark is learning anything from the pipeline resistance in B.C., she'll realize she is going to have another big fight on her hands if she continues to approve LNG projects through without social licence. And what's really needed is public debate on how the province can foster renewable energy and sustainable green jobs and paving the way for a clean energy future that protects water sources and respects Indigenous rights.

To read the Council of Canadians' submission on the Woodfibre LNG project, click here.
To read more about the Council's work on LNG, click here.

Image: Proposed Squamish LNG Plant on the Howe Sound's western shore. Image borrowed from Canada's First Nations Radio.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.