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    FortisBC wins environmental approval for jetty project


Tilbury Marine Jetty will allow for LNG bunkering in Port of Vancouver. [Image credit: FortisBC]

by: Dale Lunan

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FortisBC wins environmental approval for jetty project

FortisBC said March 27 it had earned BC environmental approval for its Tilbury Marine Jetty (TMJ) project in Delta, south of Vancouver, after 10 years of engagement with stakeholders, including local communities and indigenous groups.

The approval was issued by BC’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy after considering a report from the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) recommending approval. The EAO conducted an environmental assessment of the project on behalf of both the provincial and federal governments, but federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault has yet to approve the project.

The marine jetty, on the south bank of the Fraser River adjacent to FortisBC’s existing Tilbury LNG facility, will be used to fill carrier ships exporting LNG and bunkering vessels that will refuel LNG-powered ships calling at the Port of Vancouver.

Once built, the TMJ will be the first facility on Canada’s west coast that will enable trans-oceanic vessels to fuel with LNG at the Port of Vancouver. Using Tilbury LNG rather than conventional marine fuel reduces greenhouse emissions by up to 27% in the difficult to decarbonise marine sector, and switching all ships that call at the Port of Vancouver would also remove 90% per cent of the particulate matter associated with marine shipping.

“We welcome the decision from the provincial government and are optimistic that federal approval will follow soon,” FortisBC CEO Roger Dall’Antonia said. “Tilbury LNG is all around win-win from decarbonising the marine sector, to improving air quality and sharing economic benefits with local and indigenous businesses.”

In approving the environmental certificate, the province included a condition that will require FortisBC to make refueling space available on the jetty for renewable fuels, to the extent that supply and demand exist.

The provincial certificate includes 22 conditions covering matters within provincial jurisdiction, including plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for First Nations to monitor construction and operations, opportunities for indigenous employment and procurement and measures to reduce impacts on water quality, air quality and cultural and archeological resources.

“In approving the Tilbury Jetty, the province of British Columbia has made a step towards enabling lower carbon marine fuels visiting the Port of Vancouver and opening our energy market,” said Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam Indian Band. “Musqueam has stewarded our homelands around the Fraser River estuary for thousands of years and look forward to further building our partnerships with FortisBC once this project is fully approved.”

In 2022, FortisBC signed an agreement with the Musqueam that includes options for the band to acquire equity ownership in the projects at Tilbury, including the jetty, subject to regulatory approvals and certain conditions precedent.

In its assessment report, the EAO concluded that the jetty project would contribute to cumulative effects from marine shipping and recommended 181 federal mitigation measures to address impacts in areas of federal jurisdiction, including marine shipping, greenhouse gas emissions and various wildlife impacts.

The jetty project, with construction expenditures estimated at between C$154mn and C$260mn over four years and supporting more than 1,000 full-time jobs, still requires federal approvals and provincial permits and authorisations.

A proposed expansion of the Tilbury LNG facility is a separate project and is undergoing its own environmental assessment by the EAO. The jetty project is not dependent on the expansion.