FIRST NATIONS, LNG, AND ECO-ACTIVISTS
As CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, I offered northern BC newspapers an opinion article on First Nations and LNG in BC. It began this way:
“The days when First Nations take a back seat on how their territories are managed are past.
“In fact it is dismaying to find that some environmental activists are trying to control First Nation territories, just as governments and corporations have done so in the past, and using the same old divide-and-conquer tactics.”
The “op-ed” article came after I read a Financial Post story on what the newspaper called a growing rift between Indigenous leaders and green activists.
Please read my full article here. It has run in four BC papers.
The theme was then picked up even more strongly by Calvin Helin, Lax Kw’alaams member and entrepreneur. In this video interview, he blasts US-funded eco-activists who recruit “puppets and props for environmental groups to kill resource development.”
INDIGENOUS SUPPORT FOR LNG
It was good to hear Haisla Nation councillor Kevin Stewart and Haisla citizen Ellis Ross supporting LNG development when they spoke at the big BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George last week. Some northern BC mayors also spoke out for LNG.
- Kevin Stewart: “We very much want to see the projects make an FID, because it brings hope to our people, which we really need. We need the jobs, we need the revenue, and we need the hope.”
You can hear (and watch) Kevin’s remarks here.
- Ellis Ross: “When you look at the evidence of First Nations who embraced economic development for the jobs, the training, their social issues go away. And those First Nations have the ability to address their own issues on their own terms.”
Ellis Ross now is Liberal MLA for Skeena, and you can hear his presentation here. (Unfortunately, the video itself is turned sideways and, since it’s not ours, we are not able to change its alignment.)
Also prominent at the Forum was Perry Bellegarde (pictured above, right), national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
In this video, he makes several points, and told industry leaders: “Build a respectful relationship first, with First Nations people, before you try to build anything; and you’re going to find that sweet spot between, the balance between, the economy and the environment.”
Premier John Horgan expressed support for LNG development in this video from ResourceWorks. We’re still waiting, though, to hear full details of his government’s four conditions for supporting LNG. And whether the premier can somehow get BC Green leader Andrew Weaver onside.
Also in the news, several postings on how BC LNG, if used to replace coal for generating power in Asia, can reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions:
- Val Litwin of the BC Chamber of Commerce
- Johns Hopkins University study
- National columnist Mark Milke
- Dr. Richard Muller, author of Energy for Future Presidents
STATE OF THE NORTH
I’m a northern British Columbian (former chief councillor of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and former president of the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation). So the new State of the North Report from the Northern Development Initiative Trust went onto on my reading list.
The report noted that “since 2014, economic growth in the region has been weak.” The words “major energy project delays” leaped out, as did “delays in final investment decision in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities.”
Here’s hoping that the BC government’s renewed interest in LNG development helps resolve the delays in LNG. There are things both provincial and federal governments need to do to put Canadian LNG developers on a level-footing with American and Australian LNG producers.
(The State of the North Report, by the way, is modelled on the State of the Island Economic Report from Vancouver Island.)
Thinking of Vancouver Island, the Steelhead LNG project is moving along, in partnership with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Steelhead gave an update earlier this month to Port Alberni Council. And this week South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries announced that Steelhead has given it a US$500-million contract for work on Steelhead LNG facilities
Warm regards and Snachalya!
Karen Ogen-Toews, CEO, First Nations LNG Alliance