The federal government is expected to make its decision on whether or not it will approve of the liquefied natural gas terminal on Lelu Island today after 5 p.m.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr are flying to Vancouver and will speak to media at 6 p.m. from the Sea Island Coast Guard Base in Richmond.
Pacific NorthWest LNG submitted its final response to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in June, and the federal government had 90 days to decide whether or not to green light the $11.4 billion project.
The initial deadline was in March, but CEAA extended the process after the agency asked for more information from the proponent. The final decision was expected to be announced by Oct. 2 the latest but earlier today when several hereditary chiefs went to Ottawa to meet with the federal ministers, they were told the meeting would be postponed as the ministers were flying to Vancouver to make an announcement, said Shannon McPhail the executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition.
“It would really showcase just what kind of prime minister we elected,” McPhail said if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approves of the LNG project. “He campaigned, and so did his cabinet ministers on climate commitments, on relationships with First Nations, on science based decision making and every single one of those issues, if he approves this project, he would be betraying his own commitments.”
Not everyone is in opposition to the LNG project on Lelu Island. The Lax Kw’alaams Band membership voted from Aug. 22-24 and 65.5 per cent were in favour to have its elected mayor and council to continue engaging in talks with the provincial government and Pacific NorthWest LNG on the project.
Even if the federal government approves of the project, PETRONAS, the primary shareholder, will prepare a “total review” of its Pacific NorthWest LNG project. In early August, the company made a statement that once it received the finalized report from the Canadian Environmental Agency (CEAA) on the project’s environmental impacts, it will review the proposed project before moving forward with a final investment decision.