While onlookers in B.C. anxiously awaited the federal government’s decision last week on the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project near Prince Rupert, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency kicked the can down the road for at least three more months.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna granted a three-month extension to the project’s federal review to give officials more time to scrutinize potential impacts on eelgrass beds, prime habitat for spawning salmon.
After the decision, the B.C. Government dispatched officials to Ottawa. Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman (seen touring an LNG complex owned by Pacific Northwest LNG majority owner Petronas with Premier Christy Clark in 2014) said it was incumbent on all sides to “overcome the delay” so that the province could reap the rewards of a project that could generate an estimated $36 billion in private sector investment while creating as many as 18,600 jobs.
Despite running into a series of roadblocks, the B.C. government says it remains committed to developing an LNG industry in B.C. The province welcomed the federal budget’s continuation of accelerated capital cost allowance rates that are critical to LNG’s success. Public shows of support like trucker rallies for LNG in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson have the government convinced it is on the right track.