Dialogue sessions on LNG impact coming to Fort St. John, Chetwynd

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Staff council at West Coast Environmental Law Hanna Askew says the organizations, alongside First Nations groups, community members and local governments, have recently been getting together to discuss the need for the provincial government “to develop a better accumulative impact management framework” – considering the combined impacts of LNG proposals, including all accompanying wells and pipelines, on the environmental values residents most care about.

“For example, a lot of people we talked [with] in other places just talked about the reason they live in northern communities in the first place is because they have strong attachments to the land – being able to hunt or fish, and that they want their children to grow up in healthy environments,” explains Askew. “So what we’re kind of advocating for is a better process to understand how all the different kinds of development happening in the region – how they’re all interacting together and what kind of effect that’s having on the things the people in the north care about.”

“We haven’t taken a position on LNG per se, but what we’re concerned about is for the projects to go through in the absence of a good – like a strong accumulative impact management plan.”

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These conversations have already taken place in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat and Hazelton, with the last leg of the tour in northeast B.C.

The B.C. government has, for the past few years, been advocating for a new, international LNG industry to be built in the province, saying it will create major economic prosperity for this generation and future generations to come. It has garnished some attention from large-scale companies like Malaysian state-owned Petronas, but has fallen short of any final investment decision.

Once the organizations complete their tour, Askew say they will create a report based on the information gathered from the aforementioned communities, expected to be released in June, which will then be presented back to them, and they hope the B.C. government as well.

The first community discussion takes place at the Fort St. John Quality Inn on Tuesday, May 12 – beginning at 1:00 p.m.

This will be followed by a session at the Chetwynd and District Rec Centre on May 13 – beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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