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

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Christina Lake

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s top administrator said Area ‘C’s the tax bump shows Christina Lake has weather the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well. File photo
Christina Lake property taxes to go up in 2021, says regional district

The increase amounts to roughly $30 over last year’s taxes, for properties worth $200,000

An artist’s rendition of Grand Forks’ proposed community centre. Photo: Community Futures Boundary
Grand Forks city council defers community centre decision for a year

Staff and council said Monday, Jan. 25, that the city should wait for a clearer understanding of city finances

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read