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Accuracy counts

Salmon are important to Howe Sound.

Misinformation: false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.

I posted this definition to my Facebook page on April 3, 2019. A post on the Squamish Chief Facebook page about upcoming habitat restoration work proposed for the Squamish River estuary prompted the post on my page.

“What is the point, because “if” Woodfibre LNG is there, there will no fish swimming up past those two 40 year old, 300 metre derelict ships,” wrote one of the people commenting below the post. (1)

I responded to this comment by noting that I believe salmon will continue to populate Howe Sound once the export facility is built at Swiy'a'at (the Squamish Nation traditional name for the area we now know as Woodfibre). Then I requested data to support the claim that salmon are at risk due to development at the site.

The response to my post: “I also didn’t vote for you for this very reason,” wrote the person who initially claimed fish won’t swim past the floating storage and offloading unit.

Next I asked if I should expect supporting data. For folks like this individual the science usually isn’t relevant so I didn’t actually expect to get what I was asking for.

The individual then posted a link to a very informative article about the impact ship noise has on marine animals. There was no mention in the article about how salmon in Howe Sound will be impacted by the floating storage and offloading unit. (2) Oh, and the poster noted again that they didn’t vote for me in the municipal election.

As a working journalist I was surprised by the amount of misinformation that was being shared through 2013 and 2014. Now in 2019 the misinformation continues to flow. For too many people facts, data and science be damned. Very little seems to have changed.

There is no solid information out there suggesting that salmon destined for the rivers at the top of Howe Sound will be harmed by the liquefied natural gas export facility proposed on Howe Sound. (3) I stand to be corrected on this point by anyone who can point me to contradictory information. Really, I am. Please bring it to me or point me to it and I promise to share it far and wide.

To date, the individual who didn’t vote for me is yet to provide anything close to the supporting information I asked for.

And yet, the comment with the claim that no fish will swim past the floating storage units is still sitting on The Squamish Chief Facebook page. Many sets of eyes have seen the comment. Fewer have seen my response and the other responses below mine asking for clarification. Those who believe in their gut that salmon in Howe Sound are doomed will continue to go with their gut believing the waters of the Sound will be polluted by an operation that won’t be dumping anything into the waters of Howe Sound. That’s right, the process of liquefying natural gas doesn’t produce liquid waste therefore no liquids will ever discharge into any of our water bodies.

Is it too much to ask those opposed to the project share accurate information backed by science?


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