Oct 10 Update from Lelu Island
Petronas is currently drilling on Flora and Agnew Banks. Both banks contain high density eelgrass. This work is releasing toxins which have settled on these banks into open ocean, which is an environmental hazard. They have also already cut down several culturally-modified trees, and have clear-cut large areas for borehole drilling on Lax U’u’la. According to their own environmental assessment the coves of Lelu Island slated for a “material offloading facility” and “pioneer dock”–sites they have threatened to attempt destructive work on next–are also filled with eelgrass beds. As well, their assessment clearly shows that their proposed suspension bridge runs right through Flora Bank, contrary to recent advertisements where the bridge is omitted from their map. They have not gained free prior and informed consent to proceed with any of their iwork, which makes them trespassers on Gitwilgyoots land and water. Drill boat operators have made false reports to the Coast Guard and to the Port Authority, and have been escorted by the RCMP while trespassing.
This isn’t just about the Flora Bank. Any LNG development in this area, including Agnew Bank and Horsey Banks, will disrupt the delicate ecological balance that feeds families and communities all along the Skeena, and has sustained life here for over 13,000 years. Their project life expectancy is 30 years, and after the plant is decommissioned, the land will take upwards of 600 years to regenerate itself to its current state. Lax U’u’la land and water is also Gitwilgyoots territory. Nobody other than the Sm’oogyet–not the Port, the federal, or the provincial government can authorize any development in Gitwilgyoots territory. Only the Sm’oogyet Yahaan has jurisdiction in this territory, and in the efforts to protect his community, he has said NO to any LNG plant development on Lax U’u’la.
These huge projects are nothing without their contractors and subcontractors. The drill barge needs workers to operate, and these workers need places to stay, food to eat, water taxis to shuttle them back and forth to work. If you own a small business or provide services that are needed by the workers who operate the drill barges and are conducting unauthorized surveying, and you disagree with or have concerns about the proposed Petronas/PNW LNG on Lax U’u’la/Lelu Island, you can always refuse to be subcontracted by PNW LNG or any of their contractors.
Environmental Impact Assessment:
– They are predicting that over 237 culturally modified trees on Lax U’u’la/Lelu Island will be removed. Without consent.
– Over 125 ha of marine habitat will be permanently lost or altered, including 1.5 ha of eelgrass habitat on the Flora Bank, and 1,500,000 m3 will be dredged out. Without consent. This marine sediment material during project construction will be disposed of at sea. Without consent.
– Dredging this out will actually release the toxins which have settled on Flora Banks, in the Porpoise Channel, which is from the old Prince Rupert Pulp Mill.
– They propose to finish surveying the Eelgrass on Flora Banks, start to transplant a small amount out this year, and then next year remove all the Eelgrass off Flora Banks to begin dredging as per request of the proponent. Without consent.
* Attached are 6 pages from the Pacific NorthWest LNG Environmental Assessment that show the suspension bridge and coves containing eelgrass beds, and one image from a 2009 Flora Bank survey that shows high density eelgrass beds running from Flora Bank well into Agnew Bank right at the location where proposed LNG carrier berths are intended to be located.