NATURAL GAS may be the cleanest burning fuel there is but the amount that could be burned to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) by as many as three plants would drastically increase industrial emissions in the Kitimat-Terrace area, says a local environmental group.
SkeenaWild this week released a study indicating the amount of nitrogen oxide, for example, could rise by 500 per cent over existing levels, posing a health risk to residents.
The study comes in advance of the Kitimat Airshed Impact Assessment commissioned by the provincial government that is due out next March.
“We simply don’t know what a safe level is,” said SkeenaWild executive director Greg Knox of emissions. “And that’s what the provincial study is supposed to answer for us.”
The study is based on the assumption that three plants being proposed for Kitimat would burn their own natural gas to power cooling systems that would liquify the gas product, after which it would be pumped into tankers for shipment overseas.
“What we’re suggesting is the province follow through and ensure these facilities are producing the cleanest LNG,” said Knox.
“We’re not opposing LNG but we need to protect peoples’ health and the environment.”
SkeenaWild prefers the proposed plants use other sources of power such as wind, hydro-electric and geothermal to produce the power needed.
But, said Knox, developing those sources might have environmental impacts of their own to consider.