25 July 2001

International Pipeline Should Get International Review

Cobble Hill, BC: The Cobble Hill-based GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition sent a
petition today to Environment Minister David Anderson and International Trade
Minister Pierre Pettigrew, calling for a joint US/Canada review of the international
Georgia Strait Crossing (GSX) natural gas pipeline.

The GSX pipeline is planned to carry natural gas from Sumas, Washington to
Shawnigan Lake, on Vancouver Island. The federal National Energy Board (NEB)
and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plan to conduct two
separate reviews of GSX, with each authority acting as if their respective portions of
the pipeline ended at the international border, in the middle of the Strait of Georgia.

"The federal government keeps saying it wants to avoid unnecessary duplication on
environmental assessments," said Tom Hackney, spokesperson for the GSXCC
Coalition. "So why don't they join the NEB and FERC reviews, which are both
looking at the same pipeline?"

"It makes no sense for this project to be assessed in two halves," said Tim Howard,
Sierra Legal Defence Fund staff lawyer working with the GSXCC Coalition. "This is
a single pipeline. Parliament wrote the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act so
that we could have joint assessments with the US - that's what we should do."

The NEB plans to ignore environmental effects of the US part of the pipeline,
including cross-border effects on Canada, such as the emissions from the compressor
station at Cherry Point, Wa, which would burn over two percent of the contents of
GSX to pump the gas across Georgia Strait. The US portion also threatens breeding
grounds for an endangered strain of herring.

Signatories of the petition include: GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition; Sierra Club of
BC; Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - BC; Council of Canadians, Cowichan
and Victoria Chapters; David Suzuki Foundation; Society Promoting Environmental
Conservation (SPEC); Pender Island Conservancy Association; Georgia Strait

The petition was prepared for GSXCCC by Kate Blomfield and Teri Lee Cherkewich,
students at the Environmental Law Centre of the University of Victoria, under the
guidance of Tim Howard, SLDF staff lawyer and visiting professor at the
Environmental Law Centre. Text available at:; click on blue dot:
"What You Can Do."

Tom Hackney, GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition spokesperson (250) 381-4463
Tim Howard, Sierra Legal Defence Fund staff lawyer (250) 721-8154

25 July 2001

Because the Georgia Strait Crossing (GSX) pipeline crosses the US border, federal
review processes are triggered under the National Energy Board (NEB) Act and the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Joint international environmental
assessments are allowed under section 40 (3) of CEAA. This clause has never been
invoked, although joint federal-provincial assessments have been carried out under
CEAA. The US assessment will be carried out under the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC).

On April 24, BC Hydro, through its subsidiary, Georgia Strait Crossing Pipeline
Limited, and US pipeline giant, Williams Gas, filed concurrent applications to NEB
and FERC to build the Georgia Strait Crossing pipeline from Washington State to
Vancouver Island.

GSX is part of an energy strategy by BC Hydro that would see most new electricity
demand in BC met by burning natural gas in power plants. GSX would fuel the 260
MW (megawatt) Port Alberni Generation Project, slated to be in operation in 2003;
and a 640 MW combined cycle gas plant, slated for 2007 and rumoured to be planned
for Duncan. It would also partly fuel the existing 240 MW Island Cogeneration
Project (ICP) in Campbell River.

Together, GSX, ICP, PAGP and the 640 MW plant represent approximately $1.4
billion in capital investments. The payback period for GSX is twenty years, according
to BC Hydro.

If it carries out its natural gas strategy, Hydro's total system greenhouse gas emissions
would rise from present levels of about 2.7 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent
(MMT CO2e) per year to about 7.0 MMT CO2e per year by 2010. This would
increase greenhouse gas emissions for the whole of BC by seven per cent. In 1997,
Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol, by which it undertook to reduce national
greenhouse gas emissions by six percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Under the
UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, hundreds of scientists
world-wide have concluded that global warming and climate change is taking place
now and that it is mainly driven by human-caused releases of greenhouse gases. The
main source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil fuels, including
natural gas.

The GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition is centred around Cobble Hill and Duncan
and is made up of individuals who question the wisdon of GSX. The Sierra Club of
BC; the Council of Canadians, Cowichan and Victoria Chapters; Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Society - BC; and the Georgia Strait Alliance also participate in the

Tom Hackney, GSX Concerned Citizens Coalition spokesperson (250) 381-4463
Tim Howard, Sierra Legal Defence Fund staff lawyer (250) 721-8154
GSX Coalition web page:

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