The Province of British Columbia and the Metlakatla First Nation have reached new agreements to ensure benefits accrue as a result of the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry in the Prince Rupert area.
“With the support of First Nations, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a liquefied natural gas export industry that will create thousands of direct and in-direct jobs, adhere to the highest environmental standards and be a model of what can be achieved when we work together as partners,” said Premier Christy Clark.
The agreements provide benefits based on specific steps in the development of a coastal LNG industry and reflects Metlakatla support for an industry that is environmentally and socially responsible, and respectful of Aboriginal rights.
“Much progress has been made through these agreements to ensure financial benefits and economic development opportunities are realized to the benefit of the members and the region. Supported by these agreements, we look forward to continued collaboration with the Province and industry to ensure high safety and environmental measures are in place for LNG development on the North Coast and that the protection of the air, land and waters of our traditional territory is ensured,” said Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor, Metlakatla First Nation.
The agreements provide initial funding to the Metlakatla First Nation for community and economic development projects, as well as social initiatives, linked to the construction and operation of Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG).
“We look forward to working closely with the Metlakatla First Nation in developing a LNG industry on B.C.’s north coast, and moving us closer to the goal of establishing a clean natural gas export industry,” said Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development.
In addition to benefits identified under the LNG Benefits Agreement and Coastal Fund Benefits Agreement with the Province, PNW LNG has executed an impact benefits agreement with the Metlakatla First Nation which will serve as the foundation for long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. The PNW LNG agreements with the Metlakatla include:
- Access to employment;
- Training and capacity funding;
- Financing for cultural support;
- Participation in ongoing environmental monitoring;
- First Nations business opportunities in the construction and operational phases of the project; and,
- Annual payments based on production of the LNG facility.
“Pacific NorthWest is committed to the responsible development of a world-class LNG facility that will provide valuable opportunities for First Nations and communities across British Columbia,” said Wan Badrul Hisham, chief project officer, Pacific NorthWest LNG. “Today’s announcement with the Metlakatla First Nation formalizes a relationship that we hope will continue to grow over the coming decades of partnership.”
The Province’s agreement includes additional benefits in recognition of Metlakatla’s support for LNG projects in the Prince Rupert area, should industry proponents reach final investment decisions.
“These agreements will provide important economic and social benefits for the Metlakatla First Nation. It will also help to guide LNG development, increase certainty for proponents and support greater prosperity for all British Columbians,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
“PRGT would like to offer its congratulations to Metlakatla, Pacific NorthWest LNG and the Province of British Columbia on the conclusion of their agreement,” said Tony Palmer, president of Prince Rupert Gas Transmission. “PRGT formalized its relationship with Metlakatla through a project agreement September 2015 and we look forward to continuing that relationship as these projects progress.”
The economic prospects of building the LNG industry are significant and would create thousands of jobs for British Columbians. The provincial government is committed to natural gas development within the framework of provincial and federal environmental regulations. The protection of water, air, land, fish, wildlife and human health are priorities.
Last month, British Columbia, the Metlakatla First Nation, the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Government of Canada signed an Environmental Monitoring Committee Agreement, which outlines how all parties will collaborate to facilitate environmental oversight over the lifetime of PNW LNG.
The PNW LNG project, located in the district of Port Edward, is pending a final investment decision by PETRONAS and their venture partners: Sinopec, JAPEX, Indian Oil Corporation and PetroleumBRUNEI. Collectively, this partnership is conducting a full evaluation of the PNW LNG project before any final investment decision is announced.
Metlakatla First Nation: www.metlakatla.ca/
Metlakatla First Nation LNG Benefits Amending Agreement: http://ow.ly/Y1ga3092IVA
Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) Agreement: http://ow.ly/gjnT3090KKo
Benefits agreements with other First Nations: ow.ly/FHpL0
More about LNG in British Columbia: www.LNGinBC.ca
Two backgrounders follow.