Bryan Cox. (Image supplied)

This is our generation’s opportunity to create an industry for B.C.

From the very beginning, primary industries built the growth and prosperity of B.C.

In 1867 an entrepreneur named John “Gassy Jack” Deighton opened a saloon near a newly built sawmill on Burrard Inlet – in doing so, he started “Gastown,” the small village that would grow up around the lumber industry to become Vancouver.

This was a few years after gold was discovered on the Fraser River, sparking a gold rush and boom towns throughout B.C., and as coal mining was beginning on Vancouver Island.

The arrival of the first train in Vancouver in 1887 allowed the city to emerge as a global shipping port, cementing our province’s position as a resource developer and exporter.

From the very beginning, primary industries built the growth and prosperity of B.C., and importantly, they continue to provide significant employment and revenues.

Now, our generation has the opportunity to build a new natural resource industry in B.C. from the ground up. By cooling B.C. natural gas until it becomes a liquid, we are able to add value to our resource before exporting it as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

We are the generation that learned to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to be conscious of the state of our environment. We were raised to care about our planet.

LNG is our generation’s opportunity to build a modern industry that provides the world with a resource it needs, with the fewest emissions possible.

We have the knowledge and values to build a sustainable resource that benefits all British Columbians.

For example, First Nations are partners in two natural gas pipelines that would deliver natural gas that will be cooled into LNG in Kitimat. Much of the contract work that has been awarded so far for those pipelines has gone to First Nations businesses or joint-ventures.

Through consultation, the Haisla Nation negotiated benefit agreements to allow the LNG Canada project and Kitimat LNG project in their traditional territory.

The Squamish Nation developed its own environmental review process – the first of its kind anywhere in Canada – for the Woodfibre LNG project.

Our generation is tackling challenging social problems, like poverty and affordability. The well-paying jobs and careers in the LNG industry have the potential to transform many lives, and the revenue the industry contributes to government will be invested in schools, hospitals, roads, and services across the province.

We are developing the LNG industry to help address some of the world’s greatest challenges. According to the World Health Organization, there are seven million deaths each year attributed to breathing polluted air. With a fraction of the particulate matter of fuels such as coal and biomass, LNG can help the world breathe cleaner air.

Our LNG facilities are designed to produce the lowest emission LNG anywhere in the world in order to meet strong provincial regulations. This means that B.C. LNG will have at least half and for some facilities – far less than half – of the emissions compared to LNG produced in other countries.

For example, when used to displace coal-fired electricity in China, B.C.’s LNG could reduce global emissions equal to British Columbia’s annual emissions. LNG helps countries electrify by providing firm, reliable backup power for renewables. It is also displacing marine bunker oil in the global shipping industry improving both the marine environment and safety.

Our generation is changing how natural gas is developed. B.C.’s natural gas industry has been recognized for having far fewer emissions than natural gas produced in the U.S, and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce emissions even further.

We have a huge opportunity to build an industry our way, benefitting British Columbians, Canadians and the world. We can share our knowledge with the world to help build a better industry globally. It is clear that if we do not produce LNG in B.C., it will be produced by other jurisdictions, with more lenient regulatory standards and much higher greenhouse gas emissions.

British Columbians and Canadians would also miss out on the prosperity these projects could bring. For the sake of our citizens, and the health of the world, we cannot let this happen. With LNG, our generation can help build sustainable prosperity for B.C.

Bryan Cox is the president and CEO of the BC LNG Alliance

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