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Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Pros and Cons

The Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline is a 670-kilometer-long natural gas pipeline designed to carry natural gas from mines in north-eastern British Columbia to a liquefaction plant located at the port of Kitimat, where the gas will be converted into the liquefied state for being exported to the global market. The project will initially have the capacity to flow approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. It could deliver up to around 5.0 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas after further expansion. The project is intended to supply natural gas to several Asian energy companies, who are partners in the project. The project is being developed by LNG Canada, which is a joint venture between four major energy companies, including Shell (40%), PETRONAS (25%), PetroChina (15%), Mitsubishi Corporation (15%) and KOGAS (5%). The Coastal GasLink pipeline project started in 2012 and anticipated in-service in 2023.

B.C. has an abundance of natural gas resources. Finding new global markets for B.C. natural gas will ensure continued economic opportunity for the province and its northern communities. The Douglas Channel near Kitimat provides easy access to export the energy to Asian markets, where coal-fired electricity is commonly used. Accessing the port requires the construction of Coastal GasLink.

Coastal GasLink is under construction today and is delivering significant benefits to communities across the province:

  • During the four year construction period, Coastal GasLink will provide high-quality well-paying jobs (2,000 to 2,500 ) and 16 to 35 permanent positions during operation. Employment opportunities on Coastal Gaslink will include a variety of responsibilities, skill levels and trade specialization and will range from laborers and equipment operators to skill tradespersons and project managers.
  • $1billion is allocated for employment and contracting opportunities for local and indigenous communities.
  • Construction creates thousands of high-quality jobs, but it will also create demand for things like construction and maintenance equipment, food services, accommodation and more. Once the pipeline is in operation, an additional $42 million is forecast to be spent each year, mainly in B.C.
  • Annual property tax revenues generated from the project can also help build essential infrastructure that is relied on every day like roads, schools and hospitals. An estimated $20.88 million in annual property tax benefits will support community services such as fire protection, policing, schools, hospital districts and waste management.
  • $8 million is supposed to be invested in communities to date, investments that will continue throughout the life of the project.

Coastal GasLink is committed to creating an extraordinary legacy of safety. The construction will ensure safety at the top professional level, combining high-quality steel and welding techniques and highly skilled workers with the latest training.

Coastal GasLink pipeline is being constructed to support the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. It will not be producing or exporting natural gas or LNG, and its role is to ensure the safe transportation of natural gas. Natural gas is one of the world’s cleanest and most reliable energy sources. Coastal GasLink provides a unique opportunity to help replace higher carbon-emitting fuels such as coal, helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Issues

Most reports describe the project as “a natural gas pipeline.” But the reality is far more complicated if we consider two other industrial projects in the works (LNG Canada and the Site C dam). What does the Coastal GasLink pipeline have to do with the LNG Canada project? The short answer: one would not exist without the other. The longer one? And that is where the cons appear.

LNG Canada project will take fracked gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline and cool it (at a new Kitimat facility) to minus 162 degrees Celsius, the point at which gas turns into liquid. According to the B.C. government, the LNG Canada project will emit four megatons of carbon emissions each year during its first phase ( the equivalent of adding 856,531 cars to the road) and, if the project’s second phase goes ahead, it will emit more than double the carbon – 8,6 megatons per year in 2030. LNG Canada will be one of the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.

The industry has successfully marketed gas as “natural” because, like other fossil fuels, it comes from the earth. The term “natural gas” is now widely used. The majority of gas shipped through the Coastal Gaslink pipeline will come from northeast B.C., where the predominant form of extraction is a process called fracking. This process needs vast amounts of fresh water, which becomes contaminated and must be disposed of. The industry’s need for fresh water has resulted in the construction of at least 90 unlicensed dams in this area. Fracking also releases carbon emissions through fugitive leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

New research suggests natural gas is a much dirtier fossil fuel than previously thought. There is also increasing evidence of human health issues linked to fracking. It is considered to be a potential cause for concern after the patients with symptoms the doctors could not explain (including nosebleeds, respiratory illnesses and rare cancers) have appeared.

The publicly funded Site C dam, currently under construction on B.C.'s Peace River, will provide subsidized electricity for the LNG Canada project. The dam will flood 128 kilometers of the Peace River and its tributaries. It will flood traditional Treaty 8 territory, including First nations burial grounds, cultural and spiritual sites. The dam will eradicate some of Canada's richest farmland, inundate protected heritage and archeological sites, destroy habitat for more than 100 species vulnerable to extinction and flood 800 hectares of carbon-storing wetlands.

In addition to environmental issues, there is a significant social problem directly related to the Coastal Gaslink project. The pipeline's route passes through lands of several First Nations peoples, including 190 kilometers (120 mi) of Wet?suwet?en territory. The Wet'suwet'en territory is an expansive traditional territory located west of Burns Lake in the central interior of the province. The nation is on unceded territory, which means the Wet'suwet'en governs the land. The hereditary chiefs of the First Nations band, which is comprised of five clans, oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline that would transfer natural gas across the northern part of the province and cut the Wet'suwet'en territory in half. T.C. The energy was given final approval by its partners to begin construction of the project in 2018, still without the consent of all of the Wet?suwet?en hereditary chiefs. Only one of the nine sitting house chiefs supports the project.

Mass demonstrations, sit-ins and blockades have regularly gripped parts of Canada as a movement to support the leaders of an Indigenous nation who are opposed to a multibillion-dollar pipeline project in northern British Columbia grows. The hereditary chiefs, who under Wet'suwet'en law claim authority over those traditional territories, said they never gave their consent for the project to move forward. They have raised concerns about the pipeline's potential effects on the land, water, and their community.