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BC Legislature’s fall session to focus on LNG export strategy

The British Columbia legislature will convene today and its fall session through to late November will likely be focused on the issue of Liquefied Natural Gas. The Christy Clark government is expected to introduce legislation on its tax and regulatory framework for the LNG export industry in this session.

CBC reports, “The premier has talked for years about the potential of LNG to drive B.C.’s economic future. That talk was the cornerstone of the last election campaign, with its promises of a debt-free B.C. as a result of hundreds of billions of dollars in potential revenue from the emerging industry. The problem so far, of course, is that the industry is just that — all potential. At least 17 energy companies have invested large amounts of money to secure a piece of that potential, but there has yet to be a single final investment decision made.”

“As revealed in last February’s provincial budget, the government is planning a two-tiered approach, with a smaller amount of tax being paid at the outset and then increasing as the companies pay off their original infrastructure investment. The legislation will also include restrictions on how much property tax individual municipalities can charge LNG companies, as well as environmental rules. It is all being portrayed as part of a delicate balancing act between charging enough to ensure taxpayers get their fair share, but not so much that industry gets scared off.”

“Unfortunately for Clark and the Liberals, the climate for LNG investment is not nearly as rosy as it was a year ago. Petronas, the Malaysian energy giant, is even threatening to walk away from its proposed $10-billion LNG plant near Prince Rupert, citing concerns that the province’s tax and regulatory scheme might not be competitive enough.” The Council of Canadians has called on Petronas to make good on that threat and walk away from its plans for the Pacific Northwest LNG project. “And the U.S. energy company, Apache, has also abandoned its partnership with Chevron for an LNG plant in Kitimat.” This Kitimat LNG plant would be serviced by the Pacific Trails pipeline that is being blocked by the Unist’ot’en Action Camp.

The Council of Canadians opposes Liquefied Natural Gas projects. To find out more about that work, please read this blog by BC-Yukon regional organizer Leila Darwish, LNG Pipedreams, Fractured Futures and Community Resistance. In her report she notes the forum in Vancouver organized this past May by the Council of Canadians and the Wilderness Committee to counter the government and corporate LNG agenda. Additionally, on September 25 Darwish and Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape were at the LNG and Petro-State Politics event in Squamish featuring Andrew Nikiforuk. Darwish will also be at a public forums opposing LNG development in Delta on October 22 and in Comox Valley on November 4.

The Council of Canadians opposes LNG projects for numerous reasons including they contribute to climate change, consume massive amounts of water, cause ecosystem destruction, often violate the rights of Indigenous peoples, and negatively impact air quality.