LNG is possible on the North Coast: Rice

North Coast MLA responds to B.C. NDP letter rejecting PNW LNG terminal on Lelu Island

With reports that the B.C. NDP party had sent a letter to federal regulators rejecting the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal on Lelu Island, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice responded with thoughts of her own.

Supporting NDP leader John Horgan’s view in the terminal posing a threat to juvenile salmon, Rice, who signed a declaration for permanent protection for Lelu Island along with two other northern MLAs and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, said that the Lelu Island location has always been problematic.

“It was the proponent that determined that this project will increase the province’s GHG output by 8.5 per cent, not John Horgan. And this does not even include upstream emissions, which the federal government determined would represent 10 to 14 per cent of provincial emissions,” Rice said.

Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG president Michael Culbert stated to the Northern View earlier this year that the emissions have been reduced from PNW’s original design and the source of the natural gas supply, the Montney formation in B.C., has significantly less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the average natural gas supply.

“All in all the GHGs are some of the lowest that we can possibly achieve in Canada, both in technology of the facility as well as the selection of a natural gas supply,” said Culbert.

Rice slammed the B.C. Liberal government’s lack of preparation for the LNG industry.

“The real question is – why doesn’t the provincial government have a comprehensive climate change plan in place to reduce emissions throughout the province, so that increases like a new LNG operation are mitigated as much as possible with reductions elsewhere,” she said.

“[Premier] Christy Clark’s approach is to exempt 70 per cent of emissions from LNG production from being counted and accounted for. British Columbians deserve a government that puts a provincial emissions reduction plan in place that meaningfully addresses increased emissions that will come from LNG, and ensures the least possible impact on B.C.’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

While the Petronas PNW project isn’t one that the B.C. NDP support, the North Coast MLA said that it is possible to achieve a sustainable LNG industry in her riding.

“There is definitely an opportunity for a successful LNG project in our area but the siting of these projects is critical to the protection of our land, air, water and health of local communities. The site proposed by Petronas is particularly challenging. The same project on a different site could face far fewer challenges,” Rice said, adding that Ridley Island may be viable as a potential LNG site since it’s already industrially used. Ridley Island has previously been proposed by Cullen as a new site for PNW, however BG Canada’s LNG project is slated for the same spot.

In the potential to bring jobs and economic viability to the region, the MLA said that the B.C. government has failed to include job numbers in their negotiations with the industry.

“The company itself (Petronas) has said they plan to hire up to 70 per cent temporary foreign workers during construction. I regret the government didn’t stand up for all those jobs coming to Prince Rupert residents and British Columbians. That said, any additional jobs for Prince Rupert is a good thing. Resolving the concerns expressed by First Nations and taking action to protect air, land and water, including the salmon resource many workers, residents and businesses depend on, will make those jobs real,” said Rice.

In March, the federal environmental review into the project was granted a three-month extension as the regulator seeks more information for the terminal. Also in March, the Lax Kw’alaams Band reversed its rejection of the project into an approval, pending conditions, in a letter from Mayor John Helin.