STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE GNL QUÉBEC-GAZODUQ ÉNERGIE SAGUENAY PROJECT
October 26, 2020
To the McGill Community,
The SSMU would like to unequivocally condemn the Québec-Gazoduq Énergie Saguenay Project. This proposed natural gas pipeline from Alberta to Québec would contribute to the climate crisis, threaten communities and endangered species along the St. Lawrence River and Saguenay Fjord, and result in few, if any, economic gains for the region. In keeping with our policies on environmental and social sustainability, the SSMU stands firmly in opposition to this project.
Public consultation is currently underway for the 782 kilometer-long pipeline (the “Gazoduc” project) that would carry Albertan natural gas to a liquefaction plant in Saguenay, Québec (“GNL Saguenay”).
Scientists are critical of the proposal, arguing that it would aggravate the climate crisis as the extraction and production of the fuel alone would generate 8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, and a total of 50 million tonnes when including combustion of the gas – roughly as much as 10 million cars emit annually. Gazoduc-GNL, like all extractive projects, is incompatible with the urgent need to limit climate change, which is felt first and hardest by those already under precarious conditions due to systemic inequalities.
Moreover, the natural gas would be exported by mega-tankers making at least 300 transits per year through the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River, threatening riverside communities and the critical habitat of the endangered St. Lawrence beluga whale. According to Fishery and Oceans Canada, these risks to marine ecosystems were inadequately assessed by the promoter, who failed to address the project’s potential impact on the beluga population.
Economists have also refuted the promoter’s claim that the construction and exploitation of the facilities would bring economic benefits, pointing to a longstanding labour supply shortage in the region. Furthermore, there is no evidence to support their claims that liquid natural gas production will displace dirtier forms of energy. In this context, it is troubling that a number of CAQ ministers, including Premier François Legault, have already expressed support for the project, prior to completion of consultations with experts and affected communities.
For these reasons, with the full and enthusiastic support of the Legislative Council, the SSMU stands in solidarity with Coalition Fjord and asks that students and community members join us in signing its petition “NON au gaz fossile de GNL Québec!” to demand that the Provincial Government reject the project and reinvest in sustainable energy sources.
This Statement and the motion that inspired it will be submitted to Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement as part of their public consultations on the Énergie Saguenay Project.
SSMU Sustainability Commissioners
SSMU University Affairs Secretary-General
Brooklyn Frizzle / Vice-President (University Affairs)
Jemark Earle / President
Gifford Marpole / Vice-President (Finance)
Maheen Akter / Vice-President (Student Life)
Ayo Ogunremi / Vice-President (External Affairs)