Artist’s rendering of LNG Canada’s proposed liquefied natural gas plant and shipping terminal at Kitimat. (LNG Canada)

14 northern B.C. mayors ‘disappointed’ at LNG pipeline challenge

Say they support multi-billion-dollar LNG Canada project

Fourteen northern B.C. mayors whose communities would financially benefit from the planned LNG Canada multi-billion liquefied natural gas project at Kitimat say they’re disappointed a Smithers resident now wants a federal review of the pipeline that would feed it.

The mayors of communities from northeastern B.C. through the northwest have told Michael Sawyer he had years to challenge TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline and is only doing so now “when the respective project partners are on the verge of making an investment decision on what could be the single largest investment in our nation’s history.”

READ MORE: Petronas secures 25% of LNG Canada

Although both the pipeline and the liquefied natural gas plant have received provincial environmental approvals, Sawyer filed an application the end of July asking the federal National Energy Board to examine whether it has the jurisdiction to review the Coastal GasLink plan to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the planned LNG Canada plant in Kitimat.

While provinces have jurisdiction over natural resource development, Sawyer, in his filing, says the NEB could also have jurisdiction when a planned pipeline would connect to an existing pipeline system that’s federally regulated.

That’s a position based on previous court decisions.

His challenge comes at a time of increasing speculation that LNG Canada’s investors are about to commit to the estimated $40 billion project, which would super cool natural gas at Kitimat for tanker transport to Asian customers.

READ MORE: Smithers pipeline challenger receives threats

The project’s partners, including Shell, have repeatedly tagged the latter part of this year as when they’d make a decision.

LNG Canada has already been ramping up activity at Kitimat, including dredging the harbour there to allow docking of tankers and advancing plans to construct a camp to house thousands of construction workers.

The mayors, in a letter sent Sept. 6 to Sawyer, acknowledged his right to file a jurisdictional challenge but remind him “our communities are in support of the proposed LNG Canada export facility and associated pipeline” because of the financial benefits of employment and economic activity that would follow.

“The development of this project would create billions of dollars in taxes for all levels of government which will support programs that are important to all of us, such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and funding for environmental sustainability initiatives,” the mayors wrote.

They say that while natural gas is a hydrocarbon-based energy source, it produces fewer greenhouse gases than burning coal.

In previous statements, Sawyer says that natural gas may be a cleaner burning fuel but that when all facets of production ranging from exploration to transport are factored in, it emits more carbon than coal.

Sawyer, a consultant who previously worked in the Alberta energy industry, says there was no ulterior motive behind the timing of his NEB filing and that it simply took him time to prepare it.

TransCanada has already responded to Sawyer’s filing, calling it “vexatious”.

READ MORE: Pipeline company calls challenger “vexatious”

The NEB says it is considering its next steps in response to Sawyer.

The 14 mayors are from Mackenzie, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, Tumbler Ridge and Fort St. John in the northeast and from Burns Lake, New Hazelton, Terrace, Vanderhoof, Houston and Kitimat in the northwest.

The letter to Sawyer was also addressed to the West Coast Environmental Law Association which has provided him financial assistance.

Just Posted

Red’s Bakery offering homestyle baking in Crawford Bay

Since 2016, Red’s Bakery has offering homestlye baking on Kootenay Lake’s East Shore…

LETTER: Expanding rat population in Creston

To the Editor: On July 10, my wife found a dead rat… Continue reading

Kootenay Lake East Shore events celebrating history, arts and culture

Starbelly Jam, East Shore Community Culture Day and Museum Days celebrating Kotenay Lake life…

UPDATED: RCMP confirm one death in accident

Two motorcycles ran into the back of a vehicle towing a boat trailer on highway near Cranbrook

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read