A proposed multi-billion dollar Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project just off the North Coast across from the Nass Valley is once again being disputed by the Lax Kw’alaams Band as public consultation continues.
The project, which aims to begin construction by 2027, is a joint venture between the Nisga’a Nation, Western LNG and Rockies LNG. The consortium is hoping to produce and export 12 million tonnes of LNG per year if their project plans are approved.
Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Gary Reece said the band continues to oppose the proposed project in a statement on Nov. 16.
“Neither the Lax Kw’alaams Council nor the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams have approved or consented to the project, and therefore it cannot proceed on Lax Kw’alaams’ traditional territory,” said Reece.
At a public comment event in Prince Rupert on Nov. 7, Nisga’a Lisims President Eva Clayton suggested the disagreement between the two First Nations had largely been overcome. However, Reece vehemently denied that any sort of agreement had been made.
Ksi Lisims’ planned site is on the remote northern tip of Pearse Island, about 75 kilometres north of Prince Rupert and extremely close to the Alaskan border.
Reece said that if carried out, the project would impede on Lax Kw’alaams’ traditional territory.
“Following a public information event led by the Nisga’a Nation on November 8, 2023, and the examination of notes prepared for the update on the project, Lax Kw’alaams remains steadfast in our opposition to the Project proceeding within our traditional territory,” Reece said.
“We wish to reiterate our position that all projects within our traditional territory require our explicit consent before advancing, and as of this date, we have not granted consent to the Nisga’a Nation, Rockies LNG Partners nor Western LNG for the project to proceed.”
Environmental concerns were also brought up in the statement from Reece. Lax Kw’alaams previously expressed skepticism toward the environmental viability of the proposed project in a letter to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.
“The evidence is strong that proceeding with the project will induce B.C.’s failure to meet its climate targets as well as induce harmful climate-related adverse impacts on Lax Kw’alaams people,” said the March 3 letter.
The mega-project’s public comment period will continue until Dec. 1, then has to go through further assessment before any final decisions are made by federal and provincial governments.
Ksi Lisims declined the opportunity to comment on the dispute at this time.