Artist’s rendering of LNG Canada’s proposed liquefied natural gas plant and shipping terminal at Kitimat. (LNG Canada)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

The Town of Qualicum Beach will put aside money for future purchase of electric vehicle and to put up charging stations. (Photo Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions)
Qualicum Beach to put aside funds for purchase of electric vehicles, charging stations

Citizens can donate funds to help reduce emissions in town

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read