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Scientists will study the effects on the health of the Squamish LNG plant

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The Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, illustrated here by a rendering of artist, should be completed by 2027.


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The health effects of air pollutants from a future proposed liquefied natural gas plant near Squamish, Colombia -British, are the subject of a new study.

The federally funded air quality study is scheduled to begin next month and will be conducted by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH), the University of Victoria, #x27;Simon Fraser University, the University of Toronto and Texas A&M University.

This study allows us to catch up, said Dr. Tim Takaro, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University. This is the first study in Canada on flaring, and we have been doing flaring for decades without really studying its effects on health, explains the expert.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Flaring, or flaring, is the burning of excess methane that can occur when natural gas is converted into LNG.

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Flaring is the burning of gases obtained during the process of extracting oil and natural gas. This explains the flame regularly observed at the end of a chimney in hydrocarbon exploitations.

The study begins as six LNG export projects are planned on the British Columbia coast, with the first and largest expected to begin exporting next year in Kitimat.

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We know that flaring is harmful to health. It is harmful to pregnant women, it produces lower birth weight babies who have a higher mortality rate; we know it causes asthma, says scientist.

The Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish is still under construction and expected to be completed by 2027. The city is located approximately 50 kilometers north of Vancouver and has a population of approximately 24,000.

A Woodfibre LNG spokesperson said flaring would be harmless and rarely necessary.

Woodfibre LNG is designed to minimize the need for flaring and will only do so in emergency situations or during certain maintenance procedures, said Sean Beardow, a company spokesman , in an email sent Friday to CBC/Radio-Canada.

The project was approved by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) in 2015, and as part of that process, the province said the project met air quality and health requirements.

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Mill Creek ravine crosses Howe Sound as heavy equipment is used at the Woodfibre LNG site in July 2023. Howe Sound is a very windy area where Squamish is located.

An EAO spokesperson told CBC/Radio-Canada that the certificate issued to the plant required the company to develop an air quality plan, including including mitigation and monitoring measures.

During the initial assessment, it was determined that under normal operations or unforeseen incidents, ground level contaminant concentrations would remain well below provincial targets. stricter, a spokesperson for the provincial agency said in the email.

But that does little to reassure researchers, who believe that #x27;an independent study is needed to verify the company's estimates of the quantity of gas flared.

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Protesters showed their opposition to the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish in 2016.

According to Laura Minet, assistant professor of civil engineering and head of the Clean Air Lab at the University of Victoria, the study will rely on modeling air flows and pollution at the local, as well as satellite data.

Comprehensive flaring gas emissions data available for five LNG export terminals worldwide – two in Australia , one in the United States, one in Angola and one in Papua New Guinea.

According to Minet, this information was largely unavailable when the Woodfibre LNG export project was approved almost a decade ago.

So now we have a better picture of what's going on and how much flared gas can be produced in these facilities, she comments.

There was a lot more flaring than had been anticipated by the developers, she assures.

Squamish is located in the Howe Sound region, a mountainous area that is often very windy. These winds should normally safely disperse most toxic emissions. But the region's valley floor can also prevent air from rising, Minet said.

With information from David P. Ball

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