“The cleanest LNG in the world”, and “100,000 new jobs”, are among the many promises being made by government and industry about the benefits of LNG development. LNG related projects are being announced almost weekly. There is strong support for LNG development from First Nation’s, who—while are fiercely opposed to the Enbridge project—are determined to address the chronic issues of poverty in their communities. There is also support from folks who are simply trying to get by and welcome the economic boom we are in.
And there is opposition: from First Nation’s who have refused permission for pipelines to cross their lands, to folks who don’t want to see this region transformed into a Fort McMurray.
Major resource development is never as easy as a press release by a Prime Minister, Premier or cabinet minister. While our region has seen dozens of developments proposed, and subsequently abandoned over many decades, we’ve never faced a push for major resource development that is so complex and challenging to understand as LNG.
We live here because we were born here, or chose to be here. It’s a good place to raise a family. We live here because of family and heritage, the wonderful richness of life in a small community or the overwhelming physical beauty of mountain towns and wild salmon rivers. But the economic issues we’ve faced regionally, as smelter jobs disappeared and the forest industry nosedived, are real. It’s hard to appreciate the river, mountains and salmon when you’re worried about taking care of your family. So we need to figure this LNG thing out.
We know there are questions about LNG that aren’t being asked or answered, and both supporters and opponents are troubled about the sheer pace and scale of what is proposed. There are serious questions about air quality, greenhouse gases, increases in tanker traffic, First Nation’s rights and title issues, and social issues that haven’t been answered. Local health care experts, legal professionals and front line workers are already worried about rapidly increasing social problems associated with the present boom. Boom times bring drugs, violence (usually against women) and crime.
And who do you believe, those that seem to be against any development, or the oil and gas industry?
These are issues that need to be addressed if the northwest is going to remain the incredible place to live that it is.
We need to talk about how much development is enough, the air we breathe and risks to salmon. And do we have a voice in whether our region becomes Fort McTerrace?
Many residents are asking these questions. We don’t presume to know all the answers to these questions, but we are going to try hard to present factual and unbiased information and provide a place where we can have a community conversation about these issues. If we fail to be fair and balanced in presenting information – we expect to be held to account.
We know most peoples value systems extend beyond just money. Politicians and industry have not presented a balanced approach to these issues, so we, as citizens, need to do this on our own. It’s our right, and our responsibility.
Signed on behalf of Friends of Wild Salmon:
Gerald Amos, Kitamaat
Greg Knox, Terrace
Des Nobels, Prince Rupert