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

Castlegar applies for grant for next phase of Columbia Ave repairs

Phase 2 will cover Columbia Avenue from 20th Street to 24th Street

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Castlegar business owners report highest optimism in 3 years

Two-thirds of survey participants report business security or growth

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Most Read