OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal and provincial governments have signed an historic agreement with the Lax Kw’alaams Band regarding the environmental impact of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, her B.C. counterpart Mary Polak, and Mayor John Helin of the Lax Kw’alaams Band, along with Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor of the Metlakatla First Nation announced the Agreement on Environmental Monitoring of the proposed project today. The agreement is the first of its kind between the four parties.
According to the agreement, the First Nations will work directly with provincial and federal authorities as part of a committee to ensure that Pacific NorthWest LNG is developed in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. The committee will enable enhanced environmental oversight of the project and the active engagement of local First Nations. It will also enable the Lax Kw’alaams Band and Metlakatla First Nation to provide input into the project’s environmental management plans and follow-up programs.
“The idea to create this committee is based on input received from Indigenous peoples throughout the environmental assessment process to ensure protection of the environment through ongoing project monitoring and oversight,” said McKenna. “The committee encourages ongoing dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, which is at the core of our government’s reconciliation commitment.”
The full agreement sets out the principles, structure, and roles and responsibilities of an Environmental Monitoring Committee for Pacific NorthWest LNG.
The proposed $11 billion proposed facility received federal environmental assessment approval in September 2016, subject to over 190 legally-binding conditions. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and BC Environmental Assessment Office remain responsible for ensuring ongoing compliance with their respective legally-binding conditions for the project.