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250 people jam May 21 public forum in Vancouver discussing 'LNG pipedreams'

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Two hundred and fifty people jammed into a meeting hall in downtown Vancouver on May 21, 2014 to learn about the expansion plans of the global natural gas industry in British Columbia. The industry and the B.C. government want to massively expand the fracking and export of natural gas from the northeast of the province via pipelines to liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and export terminals to be built on the northwest coast.

Video and audio recordings of the May 21 "LNG Pipedreams" forum are available, weblinks below. They are a must-see or hear for anyone in B.C. and Canada concerned about where the fossil fuel industry is taking Canada and the world.

"LNG Pipedreams" was organized by the Wilderness Committee and the Council of Canadians. Co-chairs were Eoin Madden of the Wilderness Committee and Layla Darwish, Pacific Regional Organizer of the Council of Canadians. Seven speakers delivered impassioned pleas to oppose what they see as economic, social and environmental madness underlying the whole natural gas scheme.

The audio and video links to the seven presentations are below. Each was a powerful refutation of industry and government claims that gas fracking, pipeline transportation and liquefaction for export is a worthy and desirable pursuit for British Columbia.

One speaker, Susan Spratt, spoke of the educational and political work that is needed among unions in Canada today. She said the environmental movement needs to win the unions to a program of transition to a new society founded on principles of social justice and protection and enhancement of the natural environment. She is a retired leader of the CAW union (now merged with the CEP union to create Unifor).

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs wrapped up the evening's event with a stirring plea to build a mass movement of opposition to fossil fuel industry plans, including LNG. He said that LNG will be far more destructive to the land, waters and communities in British Columbia that the better known plans of Alberta tar sands pipeline builders and advocates could ever be.

"What we are presented with is the most incredible challenge of our generation -- to stand up, to mobilize, to defend the natural values that we all defend and have taken for granted for a very, very long time," he said.

Chief Phillip said environmental and social justice advocates must mobilize as never before to popularize their ideas. "The interests of the genuine British Columbians are being ignored and sacrificed."

"This has to become a popular struggle," he said. The goal must be to win governments whose plans correspond to the interests of citizens, not powerful corporations.

Chief Phillip's speech has been published in written form in the Vancouver Observer and can be read here.

LNG plans would see investors tear up vast stretches of the surface and sub-surface of the B.C. northeast with gas fracking. That would heavily pollute the land, air and water. The industry would build multiple pipelines to the northwest coast of the province where huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) complexes are to be built to liquefy the gas and then load it onto ocean tankers for sale in Asia.

The LNG complexes would burn large quantities of gas in order to provide the energy needed for the liquefaction process. That would produce, in turn, large quantities of polluting, greenhouse gas emissions. All the gas burning as well as the gases burned at the wellheads and leaked throughout the LNG chain would blow British Columbia's already risible greenhouse gas reduction targets right out of the water.

Gas fracking and liquefaction as well as expansion of mining and other industrial pursuits in the B.C. north are prompting additional needs for electricity, generating yet more greenhouse gases. Industry and government want to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River in the B.C. northeast, termed "Site C." It would flood valuable farmland and historic First Nations lands and spur more, damaging industrial development.

See the full, two hours of presentations of the May 21 public meeting here. The seven speakers at the event are listed below. You can select each of their presentations here.

  • Chief Liz Logan, Treaty 8 Tribal Association
  • Shannon McPhail, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
  • Joyce Williams, Skwomesh Action
  • Susan Spratt, former CAW (now Unifor) BC Area Director
  • Tracey Saxby, My Sea to Sky Squamish
  • Damien Gillis, journalist and filmmaker
  • Grand Chief Stewart Philip,  Union of BC Indian Chiefs

On June 27, Eoin Madden and Damien Gillis will speak at a public forum in Squamish on the LNG complex proposed to be built on Howe Sound, near Squamish, some 50 km north of Vancouver.

Video of "LNG Pipedreams," public forum in Vancouver on May 21, 2014 is available here and below.

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