As final investment decisions draw nearer, the Northwest may well be bracing for a fall full of protests.
While organizers are calling the camp set up on Lelu Island a “peaceful occupation”, make no mistake about the fact that it is a protest. Merriam Webster defines a protest as “a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval”. If setting up a camp on the proposed location of an LNG terminal in order to protect the area from development doesn’t fit that description, especially one as organized as this one is, I don’t know what does.
But the action on Lelu Island is just one way people in the region are registering their disapproval of proposed development.
A story from our sister paper, the Terrace Standard, outlines the actions of Wet’suwet’en members in blocking crews from accessing land in order to carry out field work for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline.
These actions have not just mobilized local activists, but drawn attention from throughout the country and beyond. In the case of the Coastal GasLink camp, the company notes it has seen licence plates in the camp from Washington State and Colorado, while here on the North Coast interest and support for the Lelu Island camp has been coming from Hazelton and beyond.
Make no mistake about it, the development of the liquefied natural gas export industry may be the most divisive one to hit the region in several years. While there are some that want to see the projects move ahead, there are just as many who will do everything in their power to make sure that liquefied natural gas never makes its way to the North Coast.
While there are some on both sides who will listen to the perspectives and information coming from the other side, there are also those who completely tune out anything that counteracts their own ideas.
Whatever the end result is, the next few months promise to be interesting ones.