Newsletter: First Nations LNG projects in spotlight

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Front and centre in energy news stories, the Ksi Lisims LNG project being explored by the Nisga’a Nation, and the Cedar LNG project being moved forward by the Haisla Nation.

The first details of the $55-billion Ksi Lisims project were given to Terrace city council, including these:

  • The floating facility would be located on the north end of Pearse Island at a location called Wil Milit, a 114-hectare site owned by the Nisga’a Lisims government and identified seven years ago by the Nisga’a as a potential deep-water location for a LNG facility;
  • As many as 4,000 people would be needed during the construction phase, housed either in floating facilities at the project site or on the mainland;
  • The site is just 15 kilometres from Ginglox, the Nisga’a village at the mouth of the Nass River, where a construction camp would likely be set up;
  • Ksi Lisims is negotiating with two companies for pipeline service to bring it natural gas;
  • A power line from B.C. Hydro’s New Aiyansh substation in the Nass Valley or a line from B.C. Hydro’s Skeena substation south of Terrace would be needed to supply power to Ksi Lisims.

Of the Cedar LNG project, Maureen McCall wrote in the BOE Report:

“The proximity of the Haisla territory to the BC coast and the short shipping route to Asia have long factored into the Nation’s interest in LNG. The recent shift of focus from Japan as the world’s biggest LNG importer to China’s emergence as the world’s largest buyer of LNG (China is expected to overtake Japan in 2021) has renewed optimism for LNG globally.

“(Haisla chief councillor) Crystal Smith says that the Haisla have a geographical location that is suited for the export of most commodities. However, when it comes to the products that are preferred by the Nation, liquefied natural gas is welcomed and supported by the majority of their membership to enable economic development.

“She points out that they have been a part of the industry since the 1980s and leaders are very familiar with the impacts on their territory. The Cedar LNG project is going to be the first indigenous majority-owned LNG export facility, and she describes the benefits:

“’There are going to be impacts to the region and to the economy of Canada. Since Cedar LNG is First Nations majority-owned, there is a reconciliation that happens between our neighboring nations and us. There are many key aspects that are important to our leadership and of course, the environment is in the forefront.’”

Smith (also chair of our Alliance) added: “I think the biggest takeaway is we are so proud to be able to have this opportunity and from a First Nations perspective of equity, it is going to be nation transforming. It is not only going to impact our membership today – it is going to ensure that our membership for many generations is going to be provided the same opportunities for prosperity as we have today.”

Along with that story, we posted online the project description for Cedar LNG, as submitted to BC and federal regulatory authorities. Among other things, it says:

“Income generated by the Project will be invested in the Haisla community, including helping to advance the goals of the Comprehensive Community Plan. . . . In addition, the Project will provide jobs and contracting opportunities for Haisla Nation members, members of other local First Nations, and local community members.”

  • And in Financial Post: Two Indigenous-led LNG developments raise hopes of new West Coast natural-gas export projects: http://ow.ly/PmBv50FlQcI


Bombshell ruling for Blueberry River

Business in Vancouver rightly called it a ‘bombshell’ as a BC Supreme Court judge ruled that BC infringed the Blueberry River First Nations’ treaty rights, by allowing decades of cumulative industrial development in their traditional territory.

The newspaper added: “The ruling will likely have significant impacts for industries in that region, notably the natural gas industry, as the court says the province may no longer authorize activities that would continue to add to the cumulative impacts that breach Treaty 8.”

Justice Emily Burke wrote: “I recognize that the province has the power to take up lands. This power, however, is not infinite. The province cannot take up so much land such that Blueberry can no longer meaningfully exercise its rights to hunt, trap and fish in a manner consistent with its way of life. The province’s power to take up lands must be exercised in a way that upholds the promises and protections in the Treaty.”

She has given BC six months to try to negotiate resolution.

The Blueberry River First Nations said: “The Province must now work with us in a new way to develop an approach that protects our territory and recognizes our rights.”

Chief Councillor Marvin Yahey added that Blueberry River First Nations are open to resource development if done sustainably and with Indigenous approval. “If this is done right, there’s plenty of work for everyone.”

In its court case, the nation listed the following in its 38,327 square km of territory:

  • 110,300 km of roads, transmission lines, seismic lines and pipelines;
  • 19,974 oil and gas wells, of which 36% were active;
  • Two big dams (W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon) in the traditional territory, and a third (Site C) under construction;
  • 73% of the territory is within 250 metres of an industrial ‘disturbance’, and 84% is within 500 metres of such;
  • 28% of the territory is labelled by BC as Agricultural Land Reserve;
  • And Blueberry’s core territory is zoned for high-intensity forestry, with less than 1% protected.

Our next outreach session will be on Wednesday July 21, from noon to 1:15pm PDT. The major topic will be economic reconciliation. Watch our social media channels for more info: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.

Meanwhile, we have notified the 20 winners of $100 gift-cards for filling in our online survey on the impact of LNG development in BC. They each have until July 16 at 5pm PDT to check in to accept their prize.

The survey looked into benefits and challenges of LNG projects and allied pipeline projects. We’ll share our findings when the 1,192 submissions are fully processed.

Also in the news

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