Plenty of First Nation negotiations, environmental study, and political debate ahead for Pacific NorthWest LNG

The B.C. government intends to recall the legislature on July 13 to debate a bill that would push forward the signed project agreement with Pacific Northwest LNG.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says it establishes the path to a final investment decision on the north coast facility near Prince Rupert.

“With an agreement of historic significance like this, it’s really important that we spend the time in the legislature debating it fully,” said Premier Christy Clark.

“Opponents can pick it apart and we can discuss it. It will be in the full light of day for all British Columbians to see.. and we’ll find out where everybody stands on this.”

The proposed project also requires a positive outcome from the federal environmental assessment process, and what a provincial government news release calls “a strong commitment to continued constructive engagement with impacted First Nations.”

Last month, one of the five native groups consulted by Pacific NorthWest as part of the environmental review process rejected a $1.1-billion cash offer over 40 years.

Now, the Globe and Mail is reporting that the backers of the $36-billion Petronas-led project — which would include two Trans-Canada Corporation natural gas pipelines connecting the planned export terminal to this area — are hoping a new phase of collaboration with First Nations will address concerns about the impact on salmon habitat.

The consortium has reportedly already told the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency it is committed to conducting further studies to forecast the project’s Flora Bank impact.

It’s worth noting the agency review is already into its third year, having been launched in April of 2013. Since then, there have been five delays in what industry leaders had originally projected as a maximum two-year process.

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