Groups to sue Canada over Petronas project > LNG ven­ture would de­stroy a crit­i­cal salmon habi­tat, ac­cel­er­ate cli­mate change: En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

KUALA LUMPUR: Aboriginal and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups will file law­suits to­day against the govern­ment of Canada to over­turn the per­mit for a con­tro­ver­sial US$27 bil­lion (RM112.3 bil­lion) liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG) project in Bri­tish Columbia.

The law­suits will name Malaysian state oil firm Petro­liam Na­sional Ber­had (Petronas), which owns a ma­jor­ity stake in the project, as an as­so­ci­ated party, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the aboriginal and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups told Reuters this week.

Canada in Septem­ber gave the green light for the Pa­cific North­West LNG project in north­ern Bri­tish Columbia with 190 con­di­tions, de­spite con­cerns it would de­stroy a crit­i­cal salmon habi­tat and pro­duce a large amount of green­house gases.

The groups will file the law­suits at the Fed­eral Court in Van­cou­ver. The le­gal chal­lenge puts the fu­ture of the project at risk af­ter it has al­ready been hit with a three-year de­lay in get­ting its en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit and as Asian LNG prices have dropped by about twothirds since 2014.

“We be­lieve there are se­ri­ous flaws in the en­vi­ron­ment as­sess­ment process,” said Greg Knox, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of SkeenaWild, an en­vi­ron­men­tal group fil­ing one of the law­suits.

Knox said the project would be one of the largest sources of cli­mate pol­lu­tion in Canada, even if it met the con­di­tions im­posed by the govern­ment.

The Gi­tanyow and Gitwil­go­ots aboriginal com­mu­ni­ties have sim­i­lar con­cerns and said they will sue Canada for fail­ing to mean­ing­fully en­gage with the groups be­fore grant­ing the ap­proval.

“They to­tally ig­nored what­ever we put for­ward to them,” on salmon de­struc­tion and cli­mate change, Glen Wil­liams, chief of the Gi­tanyow told Reuters.

The Petronas-led project plans to liq­uefy nat­u­ral gas at a fa­cil­ity in the district of Port Ed­ward, Bri­tish Columbia, about 1,600km north­west of Van­cou­ver. It would then ex­port about 12 mil­lion tonnes a year of LNG to con­sumers in Asia.

Firms in China, In­dia, Ja­pan and Brunei are mi­nor­ity stake­hold­ers in the project.

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