B.C. engages with First Nations and industry in new stewardship initiative

The province is also proposing LNGESI be used to advance key environmental management like monitoring and restoration.

“Aboriginal people have a crucial role in our LNG strategy, and will benefit with jobs, business and community opportunities,” Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister, John Rustad said. “However, we recognize that First Nations feel strongly about holding their important environmental values… There’s a need for new tools that will create a positive legacy for First Nations and the environment.”

The ESI says last year, B.C. achieved agreements with 15 First Nations to support the Pacific Trail Pipeline project, the first proposed gas pipeline to support LNG. Since than, the province says they’ve been engaging with First Nations to whose territory may be affected by pipeline, though a “comprehensive and integrated regulatory process.”

A report released from the LNGESI say the initiative is not designed to change or alter the current regulatory process, but rather complement it. For example, some of the most valued environmental land requires long-term monitoring to ensure they are sustained well after pipelines are built.

The ESI proposes First Nations be “front and centre” in the monitoring process in hopes they’ll support ongoing LNG efforts.

“The Wet’suwt’en First Nation welcomes this initiative and loos forward to working with the province and other First Nations to turn this concept into reality,” Chief Karen Ogen of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation said. “The environmental sustainability of the WFN territory and all of British Columbia is critical to the people of the WFN.”