LNG Canada’s Susannah Pierce says public engagement crucial for resource industry

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — LNG Canada’s external relations manager Susannah Pierce was in Fort St. John on Friday to talk about the importance of the natural resources sector and the people working in it to engage with members of the public about the importance of their industry in modern society at the Chamber of Commerce’s Natural Resources Rally on Friday.

Pierce was one of the rally and social gathering’s keynote speakers alongside NEBC Resource Municipalities co-chairs Lori Ackerman and Rob Fraser, Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir, LP Peace Vally plant manager Jeremy Barton, and Conuma Coal’s Vice President Ken Hodak. She began her keynote speech talking about her connection with the energy industry, which harkens back to growing up as the daughter of a pipeline worker.

Pierce spoke about the need for Canada to expand its export markets for oil and gas due to lower prices being fetched in the United States in the past ten years. She said that the proposed LNG Canada project would help the situation by being situated in a desirable location for exports to developing countries in Asia, which she said will be needing a large amount of energy in the coming decades. Pierce mentioned that natural gas is an ideal source of energy that can be used in tandem with other renewable sources of energy due to its lower carbon footprint.

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When it comes to dealing with the current battle by environmental groups such as the ongoing dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Pierce said that organizations and workers in the resource extraction sector need to be vocal and tout the positive benefits of resource development.

“Canada was founded on resources, let’s not forget that,” said Pierce. “But let’s also paint the picture of how we develop resources in such a way that makes people believe there’s a future here, which is also consistent with a better life. Why the environmentalists will win is because they paint the picture that life is better without resources. We need to demonstrate that life is, in fact, better with. Let’s continue to make sure that message is heard. There are people in this room that stand up every day and do that. We need to continue to do that. Out of your seats, and on to the streets.”

When asked about getting that message to other areas of the province, Pierce said that many residents in B.C. have forgotten about the benefits of resource development, which she partly blamed on resource companies not educating people. 

“The people who understand natural resources best are the people who development them. I’m telling them to get our of their seats and on to the streets and be heard and have that conversation. Then people will really understand how important natural resources are and the good job in developing. Yeah, in the past there’s been mistakes and there’s been problems, but there’s been a lot of change. And that change needs to be understood if we’re ever going to convince people that natural resources are good.”

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