Ross calls on Horgan to support pipeline

I am deeply concerned with the efforts of a few to obstruct this project

Dear Editor,

Open letter directed by myself to the B.C. premier, John Horgan, in relation to the LNG Canada project in Kitimat.

Dear premier John Horgan,

As you are well aware a final investment decision is expected soon with respect to the proposed $40 billion LNG Canada project that would be located in Kitimat.

This project, if approved, would represent the largest single private sector investment in B.C. history. The benefits of LNG Canada would extend well beyond Kitimat and generate prosperity for the people of British Columbia and our country as a whole for decades to come.

The TransCanada Coastal Gaslink natural gas pipeline project will play a vital role to deliver natural gas from northern B.C. to the processing and export facilities belonging to LNG Canada. In June, TransCanada announced that it is conditionally awarding $620 million in contract work to indigenous businesses located in the region.

This is part of LNG Canada’s commitment to First Nations and ensuring that local community share in the benefits of developing this natural resource. The project anticipates another $400 million in additional contract and employment opportunities during pipeline construction.

To date, the Coastal Gaslink has signed project agreements with 95 per cent of First Nation communities along the route of the pipeline. This is a tribute to the efforts of LNG Canada to ensure that the key interests of protecting traditional First Nation territories are respected early in the process.

It will also ensure that these communities will receive a sustainable source of revenue over the life of the project.

In addition, the Coastal Gaslink project has met or exceeded all of the standards set by the Environmental Assessment Office that includes all of the potential environmental, economic, social and health effects that may occur during the lifecycle of the project. This process ensures the project is in compliance with all provincial requirements.

With so much at stake, I am deeply concerned with the efforts of a few to obstruct a project that would benefit the majority of British Columbians. I refer in particular to a recent application to have the National Energy Board (NEB) conduct a review of jurisdictional responsibility for management of this particular pipeline.

This effort represents little more than an attempt to impede a final investment decision respecting LNG Canada through spurious argument. Responsibility for the development of the Coastal Gaslink project clearly falls under provincial jurisdiction and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC).

The Commission’s jurisdiction extends to the majority of pipelines in British Columbia, as defined in legislation by the Oil and Gas Act (OGAA). This includes pre-activity consultation, public notification, permitting, construction, operation, and maintenance.

According to page three of the mandate letter issued to the current Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the Honourable Michelle Mungall, dated July 18, 2017, you require the minister to make substantive progress on the development of an LNG industry that meets the following conditions:

* proposals must include express guarantees of jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians;

* proposals must provide a fair return for our resource;

* proposals must respect and make partners of First Nations; and

* proposals must protect our air, land and water, including living up to our climate commitments.

Quite clearly LNG Canada has made every effort to satisfy- or exceed— these conditions. I therefore request that you and the B.C. government use every available resource to defend our province’s jurisdiction with respect to pipelines according to law. Our future as a province and our ability to access natural resources to benefit all the people of B.C. requires your immediate action and intervention.

I look forward to your timely response.

Ellis Ross

Skeena Liberal MLA

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