FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Seven mayors from Northern B.C. have written an open letter emphasizing their assertion that B.C.’s economic future should include the development of a liquified natural gas export industry. The letter reads as follows:
Two weeks ago, seven mayors from northern British Columbia travelled to Ottawa to express our support for the development of an LNG export industry in the province. All of us who participated in the trip feel confident in stating that our message was well received in Ottawa.
The development of an LNG export industry is a provincial and national imperative. British Columbia’s vast amount of low-carbon natural gas is losing market share and value. This is because our only customer – the United States – has its own shale gas revolution and no longer depends on Canada to meet its natural gas needs. What’s worse, Canadian natural gas is being sold at a discount, and then exported from U.S. LNG terminals, providing revenues and benefits to U.S. governments and companies at British Columbia’s expense.
While we lose market share, the U.S. gains it connecting their natural gas to the most carbon-intensive economies in the world as LNG helps these economies reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean their air. Why shouldn’t we be doing that instead?
While we were in Ottawa, we were excited to hear about Premier John Horgan’s new fiscal framework for the development of the LNG export sector. Horgan addressed many of the burdensome measures that prevented a single LNG export facility from making a Final Investment Decision.
In the same amount of time projects were proposed, permitted and cancelled in Canada, the U.S. has started operating one export facility and has six more in the works. Clearly, something needed to be done to ensure the opportunity for LNG and the $22 billion in government revenue, the tens of billions of capital investment, and the 10,000 skilled jobs that come from construction wouldn’t be lost.
The Premier requires LNG projects to meet four conditions which demonstrates that it is not about developing LNG at any cost. These conditions include a guarantee of a fair return to B.C., jobs and training, respect and partnering with First Nations, and protecting our environment.
We are proud of B.C.’s natural gas resources and the world-class environmental standards companies must meet when they operate in our province and in our communities. British Columbia was the first government in the world to establish a carbon intensity benchmark so LNG produced in B.C. would be produced with the least amount of CO2 emissions per tonne of LNG compared to anywhere else in the world. A competing terminal in the U.S. Gulf Coast would produce nearly 60 percent more CO2 emissions than a large export facility in B.C.
We recognize B.C.’s provincial greenhouse gas reduction targets are challenging to meet – they were challenging to meet even before the potential of exporting LNG. This doesn’t mean we should simply say no to any further development, especially when you realize that LNG would simply be produced somewhere else, but with far lower environmental standards. We believe achieving provincial targets is a collective effort that will be required across industry and sectors, with an opportunity to direct carbon taxes to carbon abatement projects that could take place across the province.
As seven mayors of northern communities, we believe the future of B.C. must include the continued safe and environmentally responsible development of our natural gas resources. We applaud the Premier for his foresight in recognizing the potential an LNG export project can deliver.
Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek
Mayor Lori Ackerman, Fort St. John
Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat
Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe
Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor
Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace
Mayor Don McPherson, Tumbler Ridge