energyforbc.ca is the URL for Spectra Energy's website dedicated to its proposed pipeline in northern BC. Sounds great, doesn't it? Who, in BC, would not want energy for BC?
Spectra's website glowingly speaks of "starting a conversation" about "our environment, the needs of our communities and how we can create jobs for British Columbians".
But when the conversation begins with a lie, it's difficult to engage, or to trust anything beyond that.
The purpose of Spectra's proposed pipeline would be to transport natural gas to a processing facility on the BC coast, so that the product – liquefied natural gas (LNG) – could be exported via tankers to markets in Asia. The natural gas that would flow through Spectra's proposed pipeline would not be a source of "energy for BC". It would be a source of energy for China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries.
Why would an energy company export a resource at tremendous capital cost, if there was a viable local market for that resource that could be served with less expense? It probably wouldn't. Unless there was already a glut of that resource on the local market, which is the present case with natural gas in Canada.
Spectra's pipeline play has nothing to do with creating energy security or employment in BC. A project with an estimated price tag of $8 billion (US) will create less than 200 permanent jobs in BC – and those will be at the processing terminal, not along the pipeline's route – while all of the product produced goes offshore. Spectra Energy's proposed pipeline is all about capitalizing on a lack of intelligent government policy in the natural gas sector, that would allow a select few associated with an American-owned company to possibly become richer, while depleting a natural resource that belongs to all British Columbians.
The electricity requirements of LNG production will result in less energy for the average British Columbian. The electricity requirements of two LNG plants, if constructed (and two are presently permitted to be built, ahead of the plant that Spectra's pipeline would tie into), would exceed the power potential of the proposed Site C dam on the Peace River. BC Hydro is seeking permission to construct this proposed dam because of an anticipated further shortfall in hydro-electric potential in BC. (The province has long been a net importer of electricity.) The laws of supply and demand will dictate that electricity rates will go up if there is not enough to go around. And if the LNG plants are powered by on-site power plants that burn natural gas instead of by being connected to the BC Hydro grid, greenhouse gas emissions in BC will skyrocket (10 to 14 percent of the natural gas piped to the coast would be burned on the coast).
If, in a town with a sawmill or pulpmill, the associated, pervasive smells are sometimes referred to as "the scent of money", how are we going to refer to the region-wide aroma of methane and a plague of acid rain, when relatively few dollars flow back into the area affected?... The stench of offshore greed?