Woodfibre LNG agrees to Squamish Nation terms

Howe Sound

The Environmental Assess-ment Office (EAO) review period is back on for Woodfibre LNG after the company agreed to all Squamish Nation conditions.

Woodfibre LNG announced Aug. 11 that it had requested an end to the pause in the EAO review process its representatives were granted June 30 following the Squamish Nation’s release of its 25 conditions.

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The resumption of the EA process was effective Aug. 10, on day 168 of the 180-day review period, a news release from Woodfibre LNG stated.

“Woodfibre LNG Limited has formally notified Squamish Nation that it has accepted all of the conditions of its environmental review and is committed to reaching a formal agreement,” said Byng Giraud, vice-president of corporate affairs for Woodfibre LNG.

Thirteen of the 25 Squamish Nation conditions applied to Woodfibre LNG, according to a company news release. The conditions include, among others, providing insurance coverage for loss and injury costs of Squamish Nation members affected “by an explosion caused by an accident or malfunction of project,” conducting further studies on the proposed sea water cooling, and funding a Squamish Nation marine use plan.

Another condition was to enter into an economic agreement with the Squamish Nation that reflects Squamish Nation’s Aboriginal rights and title.

“We entered into this process knowing that if you enter into the process, you have to live with the outcome of the process, so there are additional costs and additional responsibilities that are required to go along with the conditions, but again we entered into this process voluntarily, eyes wide open,” Giraud said.

He said there are still some details around conditions that are being worked out, but he declined to elaborate further.

The proposed liquefied natural gas facility is located on the traditional territory of Squamish Nation on Howe Sound near Squamish.

The Nation is running its own independent environmental review, and chiefs and council are set to hold a vote on the project in the fall.

While the Squamish Nation continues to discuss its conditions with Woodfibre LNG, the Nation has not yet come to a decision on the proposed project.

“The EAO timelines are for the provincial decision and do not impact the Squamish Nation process,” Chief Ian Campbell told The Squamish Chief. 

“While the Squamish Nation continues to discuss its conditions with Woodfibre LNG, the Nation has not yet come to a decision on the proposed project.”

The FortisBC EAO process has not resumed.

“Our application is still paused. Right now we are still doing all the work that we need to do to address the conditions that the Nation laid out,” said Trevor Boudreau, spokesman for FortisBC. “The big two being construction underneath the estuary to make sure that we can minimize or eliminate any surface disturbances in the [Wildlife Management Area] and then the location for the Squamish compressor station, so we are still working through that.”

Boudreau said he hoped the company would have an update for the public regarding its EA process in September.

After the EAO makes its recommendations, the Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC proposals will be sent to provincial and federal ministers for a final decision.

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