VICTORIA, B.C. — A new report that was conducted by both the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the First Nations LNG Alliance finds First Nations have a “high degree of support” for the development of an LNG export industry in B.C.
The joint report from the First Nations NGO and the Ministry stems from regional engagement sessions that the two organizations hosted last fall. “In fact, many First Nations representatives raised the need to push the remaining projects over the finish line,” adds the report.
“We’re releasing the report to show that there is strong and real First Nations support for LNG development in BC,” said Alliance CEO Karen Ogen-Toews. “That means, by definition, responsible development that balances economics and the environment, and respects First Nations rights and title.”
According to the report, which was released earlier this week, the issue of poverty and the need for economic and employment opportunities for First Nations was raised on a consistent basis. It adds that many First Nations view LNG projects as an important opportunity to improve poor socio-economic conditions in their communities.
“If LNG projects are done in a way that respects First Nation interests, they will be the most safe, environmentally rigorous, and human-rights-compliant projects in the world,” the report added.
The report makes four key recommendations that should be implemented by the provincial government: developing an Indigenous labour market strategy to support LNG projects; supporting agreements and mitigate negative impacts of cancellations on First Nations; engaging First Nations on regulatory improvements; and partnering with First Nations during engagement with the LNG industry.
“What we really need is for communication and dialogue to continue and to be strengthened,” said Ogen-Toews. “Too many people have been told that First Nations oppose LNG development. That’s not true. Others believe that LNG development is automatically a negative. That’s not true either. As the report points out, many First Nations see LNG projects as a source of jobs and training and careers, and a way to improve poor socio-economic conditions. We need all this, and the report includes important ideas on how to make it happen. The Alliance partnered with BC because we value engagement with and among First Nations on these issues. The report supports the further need for more discussion and engagement. LNG development is not going to happen on its own. It takes a co-operative partnership of industry and First Nations, and with support from government. The engagement sessions supported by the BC ministry have helped show how First Nations are on board with responsible development.
The full report can be read below.