Will the Ksi Lisims Fracked LNG Project Benefit or Harm Local Communities?

Rendering of the proposed Ksi Lisims LNG site
The proposed fracked LNG site will be on a floating terminal, which Ksi Lisims claims will help the facility have “one of the lowest carbon intensities of any large-scale LNG export project in the world.” However, there is debate among experts about whether or not fracked LNG  is environmentally-friendly, in part due to the methane it emits. Photo credit: Ksi Lismis LNG

A $10 billion proposed Ksi Lisims LNG project is in the hot seat: Proponents of the project claim that it will further BC’s net zero goals and bring economic prosperity, but local communities are skeptical about these claims and have voiced their wishes for the project not to go ahead.

The Ksi Lisims LNG project will be a floating liquefaction facility on Wil Milit near Pearse Island and the southeastern Alaska border. The project is a collaboration between the Nisga’a Nation, Rockies LNG, and Western LNG. It is designed to produce 12 million tonnes of LNG annually, mainly for Asian markets, and claims that it will achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

Who is Against the LNG Project?

The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation has spoken out against the project. The current design plans for the Ksi Lisims fracked LNG project involve parts of Lax Kw’alaams territory, but the Nation’s Mayor Gary Reece says that they have not granted explicit consent for this.

Furthermore, they believe that “the project will induce BC’s failure to meet its climate targets as well as induce harmful climate-related adverse impacts on Lax Kw’alaams people.”

Town hall meeting of Kispiox Valley residents on the Ksi Lisims LNG project.
Residents of Kispiox Valley banded together to sign a declaration saying they “cannot allow any industrial presence” in the area. Photo credit: Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition on Facebook

Other local communities are also against the project. Shannon McPhail, Co-Executive Director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, points out that the project will bring a massive influx of workers to the region, adding strain to already overburdened community services. This is on top of the communities’ environmental concerns about fracked LNG.

The Debate on Fracked LNG

One of the key focus areas for those against the LNG project is TC Energy’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project – a pipeline that will run through the Babine, Suskwa, Kispiox, and Skeena Rivers.

A map showing the route of TC Energy's Prince Rupert pipeline.
The Prince Rupert pipeline is to be a 900-kilometre natural gas pipeline running from Hudson’s Hope to Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert. Critics of the pipeline have said that it shouldn’t exist, considering that the Pacific Northwest LNG facility this pipeline was meant to supply has since been cancelled. Photo credit: TC Energy

TC Energy was recently exposed for its part in the Coastal Gaslink scandal – it was revealed that regulators were told by the government not to monitor the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline, which had resulted in an abnormal amount of dead fish. TC Energy owns Coastal Gaslink.

On top of that, the fracked LNG project would be located near the Nass River Estuary, which could potentially endanger vulnerable salmon populations and throw both economic security and food security for local communities out of balance.

Scientists have also highlighted concerns about the terminal and pipeline’s impact on water quality, habitat, marine fish, and marine mammals.

A salom leaping from the water
Almost all the wild salmon populations in BC are in a state of decline, including the chinook, sockeye, pink, and coho salmons. Photo credit: Pbmwpictures on Dreamstime

Another issue is the lack of infrastructure to supply renewable energy to the Ksi Lisims facility. To achieve its net-zero goals, Ksi Lisims plans to use hydroelectric power. But if the required grid upgrades or power lines are not built up in time, emissions from the facility could go up to 1.9 million tonnes a year – nearly 3% of BC’s annual emissions.

So the question remains – is the Ksi Lisims LNG project a step in the right direction for local communities and BC’s overall net-zero goals, or is it a step backward?

Read this Skeena article for more information.