Pollution limits already raised for Kitimat smelter

Skeena MLA Robin Austin says Rio Tinto-Alcan expansion will increase sulphur dioxide even before other industry gets going

LNG tankers

With a 50-per-cent increase in sulphur dioxide emissions already approved for an expanded aluminum smelter in Kitimat, a study of further emission impacts is urgently needed, Skeena MLA Robin Austin says.

Austin was responding to the B.C. government’s announcement Thursday that it is doing an air quality study as the province prepares for liquefied natural gas expansion. He said the first indication of the study came in July when he questioned Rich Coleman, the minister for natural gas development, about the impacts of his aggressive plan for LNG exports to Asia.

A key part of the $650,000 study is the level of sulphur dioxide from proposed LNG production, as well as gas-fired power plants and a proposed oil port. The gas, a byproduct of fossil fuel use, converts to sulphuric acid and can affect the environment in higher concentrations.

Environment Minister Mary Polak said the studies will help guide the government in setting regulations for the companies.

“None of [the proposed projects] have their certificate yet, that’s later on in the process,” Polak said. “What is really important for us to do is to make sure we’re looking at not just at each individual project but understanding how they will fit into the puzzle with respect to the total emissions from the project when they’re all built out, potentially.”

The study is said to focus on sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from the facilities. The study will assess the impact of emissions, including their potential effects on water and soil as well as on vegetation and human health from direct exposure.

A request for proposals to conduct the study will be issued, and Polak said she expects the work on the study to conclude in March 2014.

Austin said LNG investors have indicated they will not make final decisions until the end of 2014 at the earliest, so there is time to complete the study.

“It’s part of the planning that needs to take place up here on a whole variety of things,” Austin said. “Nobody wants to see us end up like Fort McMurray, which got completely overrun with all kinds of social problems.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rescue teams scale back search for missing woman

Maple Ridge squad joined effort in Coquitlam’s Westwood plateau area.

Parents rally to support LGBT education in Abbotsford schools

Small demonstration held in the rain to counter anti-SOGI rhetoric

Union contests layoffs at Maple Ridge motel

Demonstration planned for today at former Quality Inn

Pitt Meadows councillor convicted of sex assault resigns from job

David Murray will retire from work with city of Port Coquitlam

Letter: Take a stand to protect victims

I believe that Pitt Meadows Coun. Dave Murray should be forced to resign immediately.

Friendship benches donated to two Maple Ridge schools

Benches promote empathy, friendship and self esteem at school

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

VIDEO: It’s ‘disrespectful’ that White Rock council not notified of Trudeau visit: mayor

PM should be welcomed to city by council, not former mayor and First Nation chief, Baldwin says

RCMP warn of counterfeit US $20 bills passed in Chilliwack

Police received a ‘rash of calls’ from merchants in the Yale-Vedder corridor

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

RCMP bust 3,800-plant marijuana grow-op on First Nation reserve near Chilliwack

Three men face charges for large drug operation on Soowahlie Reserve

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

Most Read