VICTORIA, B.C. — Officials on both sides of the political spectrum have reacted to B.C. Premier John Horgan’s announcement for a new provincial framework for natural gas development with both praise and criticism.
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association’s president Chris Gardner said his organization supported today’s announcement, calling it a positive step forward for the province’s Liquefied Natural Gas industry.
“We are thrilled with this big leap forward for LNG,” said Gardner. “LNG Canada’s potential investment in the B.C. would be the largest private sector investment in the history of our province. At more than $40 billion in private capital, it would be one of the largest projects every undertaken in Canada, it would create thousands of construction jobs, and it would generate opportunities and positive economic spinoffs for communities across B.C.”
Gardner pointed out that with the NDP and BC Liberals both on board, a provincial LNG industry has broad political support. “By unlocking our world class energy asset, B.C.’s LNG industry will play an important role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by helping many Asian countries transition off coal,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Wilderness Committee said that the province is giving a massive tax break and otherwise lowering corporate costs in a bid to lure LNG Canada into building a huge liquified natural gas facility in Kitimat.
“Greenhouse gas emissions are going to go through the roof with a project of this kind,” said Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director Joe Foy. “From escaped methane at the drill sites to the massive carbon emissions required to cool the gas, to more escaped methane on the long trip across the ocean to Asia and then the emissions from burning the gas. It all adds up to a big bad climate changer. How would B.C. ever meet our climate commitments with this LNG plant chugging along?”
The Wilderness Committee is concerned that the proposed LNG plant would be supplied by fracked gas. Over the past decade, the Wilderness Committee has spent time in northeast British Columbia, listening to First Nations and community members’ concerns over both the massive use of and risks to freshwater resources from the fracking industry.
“How can B.C. commit to ramping up this dangerous, polluting industry when the province has just announced that they will be looking at the environmental impacts of the fracking process through their scientific review?” said Foy. “Why does the government keep consulting the public and experts if they plan to go ahead as is anyway?