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

Ladysmith walks to help others on the Coldest Night of the Year

Community asked to step up for the local hungry and homeless

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Sound of Music echoes with a surprising amount of cool

Chemainus Theatre review: my teenage self didn’t know what he was missing

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Vancouver Island petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Most Read