First Nations continue signing LNG benefits agreements with provincial government

The agreements – signed with the Gitxaala First Nation, Kitselas First Nation, and Yekooche First Nation – cover the pipeline projects of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, and Spectra’s Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission.

According to the province, pipeline benefit-sharing offers First Nations the opportunity to partner in economic development, provide jobs and business opportunities, and “is a powerful way for government and First Nations to work together to help grow the LNG industry.”

The three First Nations will receive an initial one-time benefit payment on the date of the agreement, and an additional construction-related payment – 50 per cent when construction begins and the other half once the pipeline is operational.

“It is important to ensure that members of our communities benefit from economic development on land that we have been interconnected with for generations,” Chief Joe Bevan of the Kitselas First Nation says.

The one-time benefit payments are triggered once the First Nations’ signal they want the agreement to come into effect, as some have chosen to make their agreement effective upon signing with the province, while others are waiting to sign impact benefit agreements with the companies.

In addition to the payments made on construction-related milestones, the three First Nations a provided with a share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits per pipeline project that affects their traditional territory.

“Gitxaala First Nation welcomes the opportunity to be an active partner of LNG in B.C.,” says Chief Clarence Innis of the Gitxaala First Nation. “In addition to our pipeline benefits agreements, we look forward to our members further participating in skills training and environmental stewardship opportunities.”

The provincial government anticipates signing similar agreements with other First Nations in the near future.

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