The Vancouver Sun is reporting Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman says he has prepared new cabinet regulations that would effectively ban any company from building a natural gas pipeline and then, in the future, trying to “reverse” it to carry oil to the coast.
The Sun story says the move is primarily to address concerns raised by First Nations whose territories could be impacted by natural gas pipelines built to feed proposed liquefied natural gas projects on the northwest coast.
Many First Nations are said to be more agreeable to the idea of a natural gas pipeline than an oil pipeline, because a natural gas spill is less environmentally damaging than oil spill.
The ban is also a warning to oil and gas companies – they can’t use a natural gas project as a foot in the door to a pipeline, and then later turn around and sell it to another company with oil ambitions.
The government received legal advice it could issue a cabinet regulation on the ban and didn’t need to go as far as amending B.C.’s Oil and Gas Activities Act in the legislature.
The newspaper reports Mr. Coleman thinks First Nation leaders will support the move, but there’s word now that at least one of them whose northwest B.C. territory has the potential to be impacted by several pipeline projects, doesn’t believe the government is going far enough.
He’s reportedly said First Nations want certainty of a law, not a regulation, which can be changed or rescinded at any time in the future by cabinet.
With files from The Vancouver Sun