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B.C. approves LNG facility in Kitimat; to be majority owned by Haisla Nation

Cedar LNG expected to produce about 3 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year
Haisla Nation Chief Crystal Smith at a news conference in Vancouver speaking about the Cedar LNG project approval on March 14, 2023 (Jane Skrypnek).

B.C. has approved the Cedar LNG export facility in Kitimat – a project that is majority-owned by Haisla Nation.

An eight-kilometre pipeline will transport natural gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline to the Cedar LNG site, the province announced Tuesday (March 14). From there, the natural gas will be treated and chilled until it changes into liquid form.

The gas would then be transported about once a week – up to 50 times a year – through the Douglas Channel and out into the Pacific before making its way to buyers in Asia.

The green-lit project comes three weeks after LNG Canada and FortisBC joined the First Nations LNG Alliance, which has its roots among northwestern First Nations who already have a stake in the LNG industry.

Haisla Nation Chief Crystal Smith called the decision historic.

“Today is about changing the course of history. A history where Indigenous people were left on the sidelines,” Smith told reporters in Vancouver, adding that this will give the Haisla nation more control over their future.

In addition to announcing the project’s green light, the province also announced a new energy action framework to cap emissions and electrify clean energy – all of which was built around this latest project.

The province says the project is one of the lowest-emitting facilities of its kind in the world.

Next steps include entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Haisla Nation.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who is also shadow minister for energy and LNG files, said in a separate statement that the approval of Cedar LNG is long overdue.

“A glaring issue in this approval is whether British Columbia has the electrical infrastructure needed for the turbines that are supposed to power this plant,” he said.

Still, the former Haisla Nation councillor called the move “one of the greatest examples of economic reconciliation” in B.C.’s history. He said the Liberals will be watching closely to see how Eby handles a series of meetings in Asia in the coming days in terms of promoting further LNG projects.

Andrew Weaver, a professor at the school of earth and ocean sciences at the University of Victoria, said “B.C. is leading the way with a new, enhanced energy framework, a bold plan that will drive down emissions and build new opportunities in the clean economy sector.” Weaver also said that the project will speed up BC’s commitments to green energy and that today’s investment will set future generations up for success.

“We welcome the establishment of the new BC Hydro task force,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, of BC Hydro. O’Riley called the work “vital” and said that it will accelerate the electrification of B.C.’s energy system in order to meet the province’s and B.C. Hydro’s clean energy and electrification plans.

Christine Kennedy, president of Woodfibre LNG ʹsaid that they are proud to support this announcement. “For Woodfibre LNG, our partnership with Indigenous groups and our goal to be the world͛s first net-zero LNG facility demonstrates that LNG can be produced responsibly and sustainably to meet the objectives highlighted in today’s announcement.”

“We know this is just one step on the journey towards a final decision on this project, but nonetheless we are happy to acknowledge this significant moment,” said Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth.

“Do provincial climate commitments matter to this government? Or any government for that matter?” said Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “Because time and time again we see them approve fossil fuel projects that will only create more pollution when they’re already not on track to meet their goals.”


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