Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen believes the federal government’s intel from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is based on incomplete scientific information.
In a conference call last week, Cullen addressed the released CEAA draft report, the process of which he stated “has not been a great one”.
“The science that is being used was paid for by the company and seems to have done a very poor job, intentionally or otherwise, of finding out what the impact would be around salmon, which has been the concern from day one,” Cullen said.
“I’ve talked to a number of marine biologists since this came out. There’s been serious concerns that the review was incredibly limited, so they were either trying not to look for salmon or didn’t know how. In either case that means that what the federal government is now looking at is completely insufficient,” he added.
In his talks with First Nations leaders in the area, the MP said that elected leaders were consulted with on a much more consistent basis than hereditary leaders, who felt like they had been left out of the conversations.
Additionally, First Nations within the area don’t themselves agree on the support or rejection of the project, including the recent divide of Tsimshian leaders over the Salmon Summit declaration for the permanent protection of Lelu Island.
For Cullen, the divide is a concern, but not one that can’t be overcome.
“My belief is that people will eventually work it out, because it’s family; it’s between neighbours and this goes beyond just one LNG project, this is how we get along as people in the northwest. I do have concerns that this has been very divisive, pitting one community against each other … there’s no need for this,” he said.
Even with an alternative location, Cullen knows that the greenhouse gas emissions created by any facility will be tough to swallow for a federal government trying to reduce its overall emissions.
“My assumption is [the government is] trying to find somewhere else to make up for it by buying credits … It’s just difficult to imagine how [the government can] walk in two opposite directions at the same time,” Cullen said.