'World's cleanest' LNG still B.C. goal

Artist's rendering shows natural gas processing and shipping facilities on Haisla Nation land already cleared for the project on Douglas Channel near Kitimat.
— image credit: Kitimat LNG

VICTORIA – The B.C. government isn't wavering from its goal of developing clean energy as negotiations continue for an expanding natural gas export megaproject across the north, Premier Christy Clark says.

In a year-end interview with Black Press this week, Clark responded to Coastal First Nations concerns that liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing at Kitimat and potentially Prince Rupert could proceed without external electricity supplies.

Clark said LNG exports to Asia have been her top economic priority in recent months, with the original two projects on Haisla Nation land at Douglas Channel growing to eight proposals as international interest in B.C. shale gas development has grown. Confidential negotiations are ongoing with energy companies, and decisions on power supply have not yet been made, she said.

"Our plan has always been for the cleanest LNG produced anywhere in the world, so that's been hydro, wind power and other renewables as well," Clark said. "But we've always said there's going to have to be some natural gas power produced to shape it.

"There's another economic imperative we have, which is to grow our clean energy industry," Clark said. "We've got the third biggest clean tech industry on the globe, after Germany and California, and we want to keep growing that."

Last week the Haisla Nation dropped out of its voluntary association with the Haida, Heiltsuk, Gitga'at and other communities who make up the Coastal First Nations. They are still united in opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline proposed to go to Kitimat, but the rest of the Coastal First Nations oppose processing LNG directly by mechanical equipment that burns gas.

Clark said full development of B.C. LNG will require construction of the Site C hydro dam on the Peace River, as well as smaller hydro developments and wind power such as that proposed off the coast of Haida Gwaii.

The Coastal First Nations occupy what is now known as the Great Bear Rainforest, a vast area of the north and central B.C. coast with a land use plan negotiated in 1996 with the B.C. and federal governments. A group of U.S.-based environmental foundations matched the two governments' $60 million financing for the protected areas plan, working with environmental groups Greenpeace, Sierra Club and ForestEthics.

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