Coastal GasLink (CGL) is a pipeline under construction in British Columbia intended to transport natural gas to LNG Canada for export abroad. Like all other Canadian oil and gas infrastructure, CGL has met stiff opposition from activists who often speak mistruths about the project.
In light of promoting a more balanced, inclusive and fact-based discussion around why Canadian natural gas is good for the world, we'd like to debunk some of the myths said by pipeline opponents who often ignore the facts.
So, let's dispel the misinformation with these Coastal GasLink pipeline myths debunked! For more myth-busting articles, be sure to check out:
- MYTH: Wet'suwet'en Do Not Support Coastal GasLink
- 3 Reasons Why Insurers Should Back Canadian Pipelines
- Once Again, the United Nations Gets It Wrong on Indigenous Support for Canadian Pipelines
MYTH #1 - Coastal GasLink is Not Respecting Indigenous Rights
CGL opponents often make claims without including much-needed context, like when they suggest the pipeline is not respecting Indigenous rights.
Sure, a handful of Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs oppose CGL, but the elected Chief and council of the Wet'suwet'en fully support the project, as do five out of six Wet'suwet'en Bands. Many Wet'suwet'en Chiefs have said that 85 per cent or more of their respective communities also support the pipeline.
Indifferences between the Wet'suwet'en People's leadership should be figured out internally and without outside influence. Hence, when anti-pipeline opponents suggest CGL is not respecting Indigenous rights, it leaves proponents behind. These activists fail to mention some crucial facts:
> Of the 20 First Nations along CGL's proposed route, the elected chiefs and councils of every single community - including those of the Wet'suwet'en - support the pipeline
> To date, CGL has awarded $1 billion in contracts to local Indigenous businesses for services such as right-of-way clearing, medical, security, and camp management
> Coastal GasLink has signed a 10 per cent equity stake agreement with 16 First Nations along the proposed route
Chief Justin Napoleon of the Saulteau First Nations says his community is thrilled with the historic ownership agreement with CGL.
"We want to be partners; we want to be involved in the lifecycle of the project from ground-breaking to reclamation. Having the options to get involved in equity opens up the opportunity to have long-term economic benefit from a project that will be there for years," said Napoleon.
Chief Corrina Leween of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation also expressed her happiness with the ownership agreement.
"The finalization of the option agreement represents a historic milestone in our desire to participate as equity owners in the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. For many of us, this marks the first time that our Nations have been included as owners in a major natural resource project that is crossing our territories," stated the Chief.
CGL opponents have clearly left out the voices of indigenous proponents in the conversation in an attempt to mislead public discourse. However, given the facts above, Indigenous rights seem to be well respected by CGL at every turn.
Activists opposing CGL need to be more specific when they say "Coastal GasLink is not respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples." It's clear that this statement is missing much-needed context about Indigenous proponents and the majority of Wet'suwet'en who say support the pipeline.
MYTH #2 - Coastal GasLink Will Contaminate the Headwaters at the "Wedzin Kwa" River
Coastal GasLink opponents suggest that the pipeline will contaminate sacred headwaters at the "Wedzin Kwa" river. But once again, much-needed context is left out of the discussion surrounding CGL and water crossings.
First, Canadian law is very specific about what steps companies must follow during the construction of pipelines that may cross or potentially impact navigable waters. CGL must follow all responsibilities listed under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA), which has an extensive list of rules and regulations to prevent the contamination of streams, rivers, and other water bodies.
Second, CGL has already made several water crossings safely to date, utilizing state-of-the-art methods and technologies that leave the bed or banks of rivers and streams undisturbed.
For example, last February CGL announced it had safely crossed the Salmon River and Parsnip River using trenchless methods. As mentioned above, trenchless crossings are a proven technique that allows the pipeline to be installed underneath the river or stream without touching the streambed. Hence, there is no impact on water flow as the beds and banks are left undisturbed.
Before construction commences, rigorous environmental assessments study the aquatic environment - including bank stability, water flow, the quantity/quality of fish habitat, vegetation and wildlife. Information gathered via the assessments, along with regulatory requirements and constructability, allows CGL to select the best method of pipeline installation given the circumstances.
Coastal GasLink is subject to some of the most stringent regulatory requirements in the world. To date, it has also crossed multiple other water crossings safely and without contamination.
So then, why would the "Wedzin Kwa" river crossing be any different?
MYTH #3 - The World Does Not Need Natural Gas
Perhaps the biggest hoax peddled by anti-Canadian LNG activists is the idea that the world doesn't need natural gas to meet its future energy needs, often suggesting that LNG is a "climate bomb."
Is more natural gas on global markets going to be devastating for the climate? The facts indicate otherwise.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that on average, coal-to-gas switching reduces emissions by 50 per cent when producing electricity and by 33 per cent when providing heat. Hence, the IEA sees natural gas as an essential part of the energy transition to a lower-carbon future.
Here are a few impressive facts on what coal-to-gas switching has done for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions to date:
> Since 2010, coal-to-gas switching has prevented 500 million tonnes of CO2 of being released into the atmosphere, the equivalent of putting an extra 200 million electric vehicles running on zero-carbon electricity on the road.
> Switching just 20% of coal-fired power to gas in Asia can potentially save 680 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year.
> In 2019, the U.S. electric power sector produced 1,724 million metric tons (MMmt) of CO2, 32% less than in 2005 largely a result of coal-to-gas switching.
Additionally, Shell's latest LNG outlook projects global LNG demand to grow by nearly 90 per cent between 2021 and 2040, from ~380 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) up to ~700 mmtpa.
Activists need to tone down the rhetoric and look at the facts.
It's clear the world needs more LNG, and Canada - home to some of the least GHG-intensive facilities globally - is ideally positioned to be a major supplier!
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“We are #Wetsuweten and the #CoastalGasLink pipeline protesters do not represent us.— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) December 7, 2021
We want the protesters to cease their blockades and stop misleading people.” #WetsuwetenStrong https://t.co/34RHcrvzf9
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