Scary Science

The federal government’s conditional approval of the Petronas-led LNG project on Flora Banks, Lelu island was based in part on an environmental assessment that determined a terminal and suspension bridge across one side of Flora Bank would not harm fish stocks. According to Bruce Cheadle of The Canadian Press, pioneer sediment transport and sedimentation dynamics geologist Dr. Patrick McLaren has alleged that project contractors altered, manipulated and ignored data in an effort to prove the viability of their project. He is reported to have said, “I feel I could easily go to court in terms of what constitutes scientific fraud ” and “The concepts through all their work have the characteristics of scientific fraud.” While they have defended their scientists findings,  neither the project owners, nor the relevant government agencies has responded directly to a set of technical modelling questions that have been put forward in connection with the above allegations. Several First Nations and environmental groups have filed legal challenges against the project. One of these is based directly on a claim that the environmental assessment was flawed. The point here is that, while opinions among stakeholders on this project and this land may rightly be divided, the science upon which their opinions must rely has the obligation to be accountable, meticulous and transparent.

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