FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Following the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s call for public input on Pacific Northwest LNG last week, the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition announced today their support of the project.
A press release sent out on behalf of the coalition said that all member groups of the coalition will be writing CEAA a letter in support of the project, and encouraging others to do the same. This follows a similar appeal by Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm, who has sent the CEAA a letter of support.
Members of the Coalition include the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, City of Fort St John, District of Taylor, Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, Fort St John and District Chamber of Commerce, Energy Services BC, Northern BC Truckers Association and Senator Richard Neufeld.
The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality’s Mayor Bill Streeper says this project is extremely important to Northeast BC.
“The natural gas required for processing at the PNW facility originates in our region,” he stated. “Thousands of jobs here in Northeast BC depend on this project moving forward. I encourage everyone in our region to write a letter to CEAA stating they support the PNW LNG Project.”
Pimm echoed concerns about the energy economy in the Northern Rockies in his letter, stating that Fort Nelson is “currently experiencing its worst economic downturn since the 1980s.”
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says the energy industry is ‘a cornerstone of the Northeast BC economy’ and the current downturn in the energy sector is affecting families and businesses throughout the region.
“The PNW LNG project has been thoroughly reviewed by CEAA,” she added. “I’m confident that this project will have minimal impact on the environment. I support this project and I know many others do as well.”
Fort St. John’s Chamber of Commerce, along with Dawson Creek’s Chamber of Commerce, joins the Coalition as fairly new members. Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce spokesperson and president Tony Zabinsky said members of the Chamber appreciate that natural gas from Northeast BC can help improve air quality — which in turn improves people’s health and environmental sustainability in Pacific Rim markets. Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Kathleen Connolly said people are very aware of the impacts of resource development on the environment, and are ‘always vigilant that resource development does not negatively impact the environment.’
“The PNW LNG Project in Northwest BC may seem far away but the economic impact is directly linked to Northeast BC,” said District of Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser, adding that the natural gas for the PNW LNG project originates into the region.
“The natural gas for the dozen other proposed LNG projects in BC originates in Northeast BC. Our region has helped British Columbians heat their homes and enjoy hot-water for a half-century. We support projects like PNW LNG that will allow people in overseas markets to enjoy these benefits as well.”
Art Jarvis with Energy Services BC, who endorses Pacific Northwest LNG, said their members are ‘proud to use leading-edge technology and best-practices to help extract and transport natural gas with minimal impact on the environment.’
Northern BC Truckers Association Director Tyler Kosick said he believes CEAA has conducted a very thorough review of the project.
“No one in Northeast BC or anywhere else in British Columbia supports resource development if it negatively impacts the environment,” he continued.
“Our members travel throughout Northeast BC on a daily basis and see first-hand the care and attention the energy industry uses in its day-to-day operations.”
The Pacific Northwest LNG project has faced hurdles as it tries to gain approval. The biggest of debates surrounding the project is whether or not salmon habitats off of Lelu Island would be harmed by an LNG facility so close. Fisheries and Oceans Canada recently stated that they would face little harm from a facility, while others disagree.
A final decision of the project could be made this April.
For those interested in contacting the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Coalition encourages letters of support be sent to GNLPacificNorthWestLNG@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.