It was announced late Friday that the Moricetown First Nations band have joined the First Nations Limited Partnership.
That partnership is a benefits agreement for First Nations which would be affected by the Pacific Trail Pipeline proposal, which is the natural gas line which would supply the proposed Kitimat LNG project by Chevron and Apache (soon to be Woodside Petroleum.)
The Moricetown band held a series of meetings in recent weeks to determine the community’s feelings about joining the partnership. It was seemingly not a unanimous feeling ahead of the official announcement on January 23.
“The decision of the Moricetown First Nation band council to join the [FNLP] is one that we warmly welcome,” said FNLP Chairman Bob Rae in a media release. “It means 16 First Nations along the proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline route are partners in a unique approach that combines environmental stewardship, extensive job, procurement, and other economic benefits.”
The FNLP represents the only natural gas pipeline in B.C. which would serve an LNG facility that has such agreements.
The partnership means that the participating First Nations will receive up to $550 million in financial benefits over the life of the PTP project, which includes a $10 million a year benefit for the operating life of the pipeline from the province itself.
Skills training and contracting is another benefit under the FNLP agreement.
“[We] look forward to building the Pacific Trail Pipeline with First Nations in a manner that places the highest priority on protecting people and the environment,” said Chevron President Jeff Lehrmann in a news release.
Member nations have already received $17 million in payments.
Training programs have also been undertaken already for 1,600 First Nations through the PTP Aboriginal Skills to Employment Partnership.
First Nations employment represents about 54 per cent of early works construction on the PTP pipeline.
$245 million in construction contracts have also been awarded to FNLP members.
Rae calls the FNLP an “innovative” model for industry and First Nation engagement.