B.C. asks for First Nations input on LNG

B.C. asks for First Nations input on Liquefied Natural Gas development

  • May. 23, 2014 1:00 p.m.

By Steven Chua, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – The B.C. government is trying to bring First Nations on board to its ambitious natural gas venture by asking for their input on environmental issues at the early stages of each project.

Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said Friday the initiative marks a new way of dealing with First Nations, companies and government with respect to an industry that the provincial government said could be worth billions.

“The goal is to build an environmental stewardship initiative that addresses our collective conservation and development interests,” said Rustad.

“We’re actually going to go out and bring First Nation input and industry input together with the province to develop this as opposed to coming out with an idea and asking for comment.”

However, Rustad said the goal is to create agreements between government and First Nations, not change laws.

“The LNG environmental stewardship initiative is not intended to change or alter the current regulatory process,” he said. “We look at this is as really being a process that looks somewhat different from a regulatory process and outside of it, but it’s a way to be able to bring the groups together.”

Chief Robert Joseph of the Gwa-waenuk First Nation said it’s appropriate to start dialogue between First Nations and government now.

Agreements are a good place to begin he said, but ultimately a legislative framework would be best.

“I think that contracts are contracts and if we can live up to the letter and intent and spirit of contracts that probably would suffice,” said Joseph. “But in the long term if governments are really committed, of course they would think about legislative amendments and changes.”

Robert Dennis, who is in charge of resource development for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, said that the initiative could result in a future framework for payment and environmental standards for a natural gas industry.

“We’re in very detailed negotiations regarding benefits agreements with industry, we will be in very detailed negotiations with the province regarding revenue sharing,” said Robert Dennis, who is in charge of resource development for the Wet’suwet’en.

Dennis said that the initiative could allow the nation to hold government more accountable on environmental issues surrounding natural gas projects.

Wet’suwet’en territory surrounds Burns Lake, a northern B.C. community, and locals are concerned that gas pipelines would run through it, he said.

The government want to have a template for First Nations collaboration in place by this November.

The province will be approaching industry and First Nations and will be asking how they want to be a part of the framework in the coming weeks.

B.C. has run into disagreements with First Nations and the environmental impact of natural gas.

Last month, the province passed an order in council without public debate that would have removed about 99 per cent of the natural gas produced in the province from automatic environmental reviews, but reversed the decision.

The announcement came on the same day a group of B.C. officials were kicked out of a First Nations forum on liquefied natural gas.

Environment Minister Mary Polak apologized for the decision, saying the government failed to discuss the amendment with First Nations, prior to approval.

Premier Christy Clark has touted the development of the LNG industry as a cornerstone of her B.C. jobs plan, but must also meet legislated targets to reduce emissions by 2020.

Just Posted

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read