Re Sun column lauding jet fuel project

An op-ed column in today’s Vancouver Sun is built on this view of what the B.C. government’s conditional approval of the YVR airlines’ fuel delivery project means:

baloneyThe message underlying this project and this decision is that B.C. is open for investment and the province can get projects approved on their environmental, social and economic merits.


The wide range of opponents of the proposal from the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation, VAFFC, consistently put forward alternative options. Unfortunately, the Environmental Assessment Office did not independently look at any of the alternatives, let alone evaluate them to determine if they were environmentally better than the VAFFC proposal.  In the “YVR jet fuel” category on this blog, several of the  articles look at  environmental aspects, and the analysis shows that the chosen fuel delivery methods are not best from the environmental standpoint.

Evidently the VAFFC project has economic merits for the YVR airlines, and no doubt there’s some trickle-down effect for British Columbians. However, the city council of Richmond, which certainly receives economic benefit from  YVR (located in Richmond), is a firm opponent of VAFFC’s chosen fuel delivery methods. Council has obviously concluded that the VAFFC proposal’s economic merits are not sufficient to offset the shortcomings.

Furthermore, the column’s assumption that the province approved on social and economic merits is unfounded.  There was only an environmental assessment, and a narrow one at that. Even if an environmental assessment appears to judge economic and social merits, that is outside its scope and expertise.

Furthermore, the VAFFC project does not offer social merits that would be lost if VAFFC switched to fuel delivery alternatives proposed by Richmond groups like Richmond Council, VAPOR and Garden City Conservation. In other words, the supposed social merits are another red herring.

Note: A red herring is a kipper, a smoked herring with a strong smell that could throw even a bloodhound off the scent trail it is following.

Note: A red herring is a kipper, a smoked herring with a strong smell that could throw even a bloodhound off the scent trail it is following.

It’s even more farfetched for the op-ed column to imply that expecting YVR to choose a better fuel-delivery method would make the province less “open to investment.” The writer expressing the VAFFC view says nothing to back that up, presumably because there’s nothing sensible to say.


Relevant links:

“Conditional approval” information bulletin from B.C. Ministers Mary Polak and Rich Coleman

Background: Reasons for Ministers’ decision

Environmental Assessment Office review documents

Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation Fuel Delivery Project

Op-ed column writer Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia


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