PNW LNG decision doesn’t sit well with everybody; First Nations Alliance supports decison

Photo Credit: The Government of BC

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – As with any announcement involving the environment, there will be opposition. That was the case last night after the federal government made the announcement approving the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

The Wilderness Committee called the decision an “environmental disaster”

“We’re absolutely appalled that this project has been given the go-ahead,” said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “Pacific NorthWest LNG poses a grave threat to our global climate, salmon in the Skeena River and the way of life of Indigenous people who live there.

Members of the Lax Kw’alaams have been occupying the site in their traditional territory for over a year to halt work on the project, while thousands of supporters have called for the government to reject the proposal.”

Stand.Earth also chimed in on the decision, saying that the approval is the “Trudeau Government’s first big Energy decision that is a a climate fail”.

“How can Prime Minister Trudeau claim to be a climate leader on the international stage, while approving this new project that will become the single largest source of climate pollution in the country. Honestly,  we expected better” said Karen Mahon National Director of Stand.Earth.  “This  government cannot make decisions like this while honouring their promises on climate change.”

Clean Energy Canada also disagreed with the decision.

Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada said that the bar has been set too low with the approval decision and said the project will be one of the single biggest sources of carbon pollution in Canada.

“The conditions that come with this approval set the bar too low. Ottawa should have required Pacific NorthWest to run on clean electricity and use available technology to reduce its carbon pollution by more than 40 per cent. If this project is built as currently approved, it will be one of the single biggest sources of carbon pollution in the country.”

The Pembina Institute also said that this will make it much more difficult for Canada to reach the climate goals and also signalled the ok for provinces to miss them as well.

“With today’s decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, Minister McKenna made it much more difficult for Canada to meet its climate targets and signaled that it’s OK for provinces to miss their own emissions targets. If built, Pacific NorthWest LNG will be one of the largest carbon polluters in the country and a serious obstacle to Canada living up to its climate commitments.” said Matt Horne, associate B.C. director at the Pembina Institute.

First Nations have also been very vocal about opposition to the project, because of the impact it will have on salmon in the area.

The First Nations LNG Alliance however supports the decision made by the federal government.

“These projects can only move forward with effective and meaningful First Nations consultation and involvement, and we are pleased to see the progress Petronas, the government and the affected First Nations have achieved in this case,” says Dan George, Chief of Burns Lake Band and Chair of the FNLNGA.

Once a final financial investment decision has been made, this project will have significant positive economic and social impacts for First Nations communities along the proposed pipeline route. Impact benefit agreements have been signed by several First Nations along the Pacific NorthWest LNG route, including Metlakatla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and Gitxaala, empowering these nations with direct benefits to strengthen their economic and social stability for generations to come. This project will contribute 630 direct and indirect jobs as well as 4500 construction jobs to B.C.’s economy, many of which will directly benefit First Nations peoples and communities.”

Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) also said that they agree with the decision to approve the project, especially for the areas of the oil and gas downturn.

“This project would not only create thousands of jobs in the construction phase, but also through the lifespan of the operation providing jobs for the ongoing development and production of natural gas for the facility” says Mark Salkeld, President & CEO of PSAC.

The oil and gas services sector has been devastated by the duration of this low commodity price environment laying off tens of thousands of workers and companies becoming insolvent with the lack of work.  This news offers a glimmer of hope that more investment in the development of our natural gas lies ahead.”