Fossil fuel-haters gain new weapon: 7,500 birds killed by flaring at Canadian natgas plant

CBC News reports:

About 7,500 songbirds, possibly including some endangered species, were killed while flying over a gas plant in Saint John late last week, officials have confirmed.

It appears the migrating birds flew into the gas flare at Canaport LNG between Friday night and Saturday morning, said Fraser Forsythe, the company’s health, safety, security and environmental manager.

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10 responses to “Fossil fuel-haters gain new weapon: 7,500 birds killed by flaring at Canadian natgas plant

  1. Q: would it be economically feasible to burn the waste gas in a catalytic burner instead of flaring? And then, maybe recover some heat?

    • I think if it were, they’d be doing it.

    • Flares are used for non-recoverable gas, often mixed with Nitrogen or other non-combustibles, that are too unpredictable to burn in a boiler. Boilers require clean, consistent streams for effectively homeostatic operation. Flare streams are almost by definition, not that. You can try putting it to an incinerator, but that raises a whole host of legal and technical difficulties.

      The thing is, in all my years monitoring the flares of my plant, I’ve never seen or heard of a single bird kill, despite the mass grackle migrations that are a staple around here. I’m not buying this argument. The birds can tell when the flare is going and either fly around it like a building or fly over it and use it as a thermal.

  2. “possibly including some endangered species”? If they have the bodies they should KNOW this.
    Meanwhile “U.S. Wind Turbines Kill 1.4 Million Birds and Bats Every Year” according to a peer-reviewed study at: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wsb.260/abstract

  3. Gas and oil operations lead to some flaring. As Gamecock noted, energy operations usually do try to recover what would otherwise be waste heat — at least one refinery in Billings has an electric generation operation that uses waste heat — but flaring is still sometimes necessary. I’m sure that, once in a while, that flare will occur just as a flock passes overhead and some birds get killed. I don’t know how you prevent that unless you can flare in a huge tank or underground and those would be very costly alternatives.
    Human operations affect the planet. We have to accept that sometimes the affects are harmful and consider the cost-benefit tradeoff. Songbirds are short-lived and the vast majority become food for predators; flaring from energy ops rates somewhere very low on the list of things that endanger them.

  4. I wonder how the number of birds killed in this flare compare to the number killed by someones house cats.

  5. How well done were they and were they large enough for more than one bite?

  6. You guys kill me :)

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