Our government is currently considering a proposal to build a plant in Howe Sound that will liquefy methane gas for export overseas. This liquefied natural gas plant (otherwise known as LNG) would also require the construction of a pipeline and would result in regular tanker traffic throughout Howe Sound.1
There are many economic and health risks associated with LNG and its related activities.2,3 Fracking (a method used to extract the gas) may also contaminate drinking water and harm animals.4,5 A decision from government on the Howe Sound LNG project is expected in 2015. We need to act now.
Let's make LNG and fracking a federal election issue for BC candidates
We can show government our united voices matter. Through building signatures on the declaration, we will grow a network of people, amplify their voices and exert pressure on specific decision makers.
Remember the 2014 municipal elections? With the help of many British Columbians, we built the declaration to 1000 signatures right before the November 2014 municipal elections. In the process, many also signed-up to our email list. So, right before the election we emailed our election candidate report card to everyone and they shared it with their networks and so on. Our report card ended-up reaching thousands of potential voters all around Howe Sound. Together we had an impact on the election, and we can do it again!
One of the best upcoming opportunities to have more impact is the federal election in October 2015, though some think it could come sooner.6
This time, when we crack 2000 signatures, we're going to start requesting meetings with the local Member of Parliament and all federal party candidates in that riding. We plan to present the declaration to each of them and ask several questions. An important one being: what are they going to do about the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant? We'll report out fully to everyone, so we all know where each of them stand on this issue before the election.
Help us grow the declaration–get it out into coffee shops, farmers markets and other events. Sign-up to help by volunteering.
Using a declaration to turn the tables
After reading statements from certain politicians about the proposed gas plant, a pattern may be apparent. In one way or another many say we must be open to the project until all the facts are in. This use of uncertainty (i.e., the facts not being in) is a well-documented strategy that's used to maintain the status quo,7,8 and in this case the status quo is the approval of a gas plant. With this messaging, politicians can delay going out on a limb with a definitive stance for or against the project. Taking a side on the gas plant either way could be politically damaging to their relationships with powerful lobbyists or their constituents. Something they want to avoid.
However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with citizens opposing this project because "the facts aren't in." Actually, this makes a lot of sense, given gas plants hold much uncertainty and risk. We should be skeptical of promises of environmental mitigation and high levels of industrial safety that aren't bound by strict law and monitoring. That's why a healthy dose of skepticism coupled with citizen-power is the foundation behind our declaration. Check it out and spread it far and wide! You can also print off copies, collect signatures and mail them back to us.
1. http://www.coastreporter.net/news/local/lng-tanker-risk-called-higher-for-howe-sound-1.1201127 LNG tanker risk called higher for Howe Sound, Coast Reporter, July 10, 2014
2. http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/07/blast-at-u-s-lng-site-casts-spotlight-on-natural-gas-safety/?__lsa=765f-df48 Blast at U.S. LNG site casts spotlight on natural gas safety, Financial Post, April 7, 2014
3. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/more-on-frackin-peer-review-and-public-health/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 More on gas drilling, peer review and public health, New York Times, Aug 2, 2012
4. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/groundwater-contamination-may-end-the-gas-fracking-boom/ Groundwater contamination may end the gas-fracking boom, Scientific American, Aug 20, 2013
5. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2012/03/reproductive-problems-death-animals-exposed-fracking Study suggests hydrofracking is killing farm animals, pets, Cornell University Chronicle, March 7, 2012
6. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/11/09/why_stephen_harper_will_call_an_early_election.html Why Stephen Harper will call an early election, Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2014
7. http://islandpress.org/ip/books/book/islandpress/P/bo3559021.html Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems, Gunderson and Holling 2001
8. http://www.academia.edu/6586301/Scientific_Certainty_Argumentation_Methods_SCAMs_Science_and_the_Politics_of_Doubt Scientific certainty argumentation methods: science and the politics of doubt, Freudenburg et al. 2008