A controversial gas pipeline and liquefaction project in Quebec’s Saguenay region that could produce 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon pollution over 25 years is just three weeks away from entering hearings before the province’s environmental review agency, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).
The project, which has the support of the Quebec government, includes a 780-kilometre, C$4.5-billion pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean that would pass through ancestral Innu territory, and raises concerns about damage to wetlands, water pollution, and accident risk, CBC reports.
The hearings will begin March 16 with consideration of a $9.5-billion liquefaction plant at the port of Saguenay, about 230 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, that is already raising concerns about wildlife impacts in the nearby Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.
GNL Québec, the company promoting the liquefaction terminal, said it looked forward to the BAPE review and associated public hearings. “It’s a big step for our project,” said spokesperson Stéphanie Fortin. “For us it’s a chance where we’ll be able to show all the benefits of the project.”
Quebec Premier François Legault “has repeatedly indicated he is favourable to the project, claiming among other things that it will help reduce emissions globally by facilitating exports of LNG, which emits fewer emissions than coal,” CBC writes. “That claim has been contested by large numbers of academics, including economists and scientists,” who place the climate impact of the project at the equivalent of a year of tailpipe emissions from 382 million cars.
“Several dozen Innu members attended protest marches this weekend in Mashteuiatsh, on the eastern shores of Lac-Saint-Jean, and in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, about 100 kilometres southeast of Saguenay,” the national broadcaster adds. “At the demonstrations, where they were joined by local environmental groups, Innu expressed both opposition to the LNG project in Quebec and support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposing a pipeline project in British Columbia.”
“I have lots of grandchildren and I have two great-grandchildren,” said Innu protester Huguette Volant. “I want them to be able to live on a healthy planet.”