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Having put all its efforts behind homegrown liquefied natural gas, while snubbing not-good-enough-for-us oil pipelines needed by Albertans, British Columbia is now in an uncomfortable situation.
As it turns out, LNG, the clean-burning fuel embraced by the Liberal government of Christy Clark, whose development was promoted up and down Asia and that was supposed to be acceptable to the province’s green/aboriginal/nimby cohort, is not good enough either.
It has landed on the unwanted pile, right next to Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s proposed TransMountain oil pipeline expansion.
The boot came this week from the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation near Prince Rupert, population 3,733, which rejected $1.14 billion in benefits over 40 years offered by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas in exchange for consent to build the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
For sure, other aboriginal bands are supportive of LNG development, but the Lax Kw’alaams vote and the band’s combative tone can’t inspire confidence among the 20-or-so LNG proponents trying to make the business take off.
“The terminal is planned to be located in the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams. Only Lax Kw’alaams have a valid claim to aboriginal title in the relevant area — their consent is required for this project to proceed,” Mayor Garry Reece said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote, the last of three, all against LNG. “There are suggestions governments and the proponent may try to proceed with the project without consent of the Lax Kw’alaams. That would be unfortunate.
“Hopefully, the public will recognize that unanimous consensus in communities (and where unanimity is the exception) against a project where those communities are offered in excess of a billion dollars, sends an unequivocal message this is not a money issue: This is environmental and cultural.”
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