By Josh Massey
Terrace is one of three locations in which rallies in support of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry took place this past week.
Sponsored by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) of B.C. the other rallies took place in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.
The rallies coincide with the federal government now considering whether to approve of the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal set for Lelu Island.
This is the first large-scale LNG project to make it to the final approval stage and in addition to scientific and other studies being conducted, some 30,000 public comments were also submitted.
Terrace resident Lucy Praught, a consultant who has worked for energy companies and First Nations, says it’s time for people who support LNG projects to make their voices heard.
“It’s important for people to understand we are ready to work. It’s been tough in northwestern B.C. for a while. We are ready to dust each other off and make it happen,” said Praught in a release.
Kitselas First Nation chief councillor Joe Bevan also spoke at the rally.
“Our position on LNG is based on due diligence – not just our own but the work done by other First Nations in the Northwest, the large majority of whom share our position,” said Bevan in a release.
“As long as proponents maintain strong environmental standards, we support LNG because it brings jobs and growth to our nation.”
The Kitselas First Nation several years ago signed a benefits deal with Pacific NorthWest LNG reflecting its traditional interests in the waters around Lelu Island and is an active participant in the Tsimshian Environmental Stewardship Authority which has been conducting its own review of the project.
That authority has so far expressed its satisfaction with the environmental and other work that has gone into the project.
The Lelu Island location for Pacific NorthWest LNG has been strongly opposed by the Lax Kw’alaams until recently when the band reversed its position and decided to support the project under two conditions.
A wide variety of environmental and other groups also oppose the location over worries of the effect it will have on Skeena River salmon populations.
Trucks taking part in the rally parked in the Skeena Mall parking lot closest to city hall at noon on March 16.
“These events represent a groundswell of grassroots support from the silent majority of B.C. residents who support the Pacific NorthWest LNG project and the jobs that come with it,” said ICBA senior vice president Gord Stewart in a release.