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B.C. NDP and Green Party divided on LNG

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During the provincial election, the B.C. NDP expressed conditional support for LNG development while the Green Party was opposed. So with an NDP-Green alliance, what does that mean for LNG?

Sarah Miller, a spokesperson for the B.C. Green Party, explained that with the NDP minority government, the B.C. Green caucus remains in opposition.

"The B.C. Green caucus believes that the real economic opportunity for B.C. lies in the emerging economy - not in pursuing an LNG industry, which global market prices do not support, and which is incompatible with meeting our climate commitments," she said.

While global LNG demand has been growing, especially in Asia and parts of Europe, lower prices and fierce competition have created uncertainty among all LNG projects, including those proposed in Canada.

The NDP's conditional support for LNG projects has four conditions, including that these projects must offer jobs and training for British Columbians; the people of B.C. must get a fair return for their resources; they must secure full partnerships with local First Nations; and these projects must complete a made-in-B.C. environmental assessment.

Although the NDP and the Green Party have different positions when it comes to LNG, Miller said both parties have agreed to a focus on the "emerging economy" and on tackling climate change. 

"Our agreement committed the NDP government to establish an Innovation Commission and Emerging Economy Task Force," explained Miller. "Moving forward on these initiatives in order to seize the economic opportunities available to us in the emerging economy will be our focus in the months ahead."

"We have agreed to support the NDP on confidence and supply measures such as budget votes as long as the commitments in our agreement are upheld," she added. "These commitments include consultation on major policy measures, and that the NDP acts consistently with the principles of good faith and no surprises."

First Nations groups in the Burns Lake area have signed pipeline benefit agreements with the provincial government for three LNG projects - Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, Pacific Trail Pipeline Project, and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline Project. However, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline Project was affected by Petronas' recent decision not to proceed with an export facility near Port Edward.

And although Coastal GasLink has all the major permits to begin construction, the construction start date remains uncertain. Challenges in the global energy market led LNG Canada's joint venture participants to delay a final investment decision on their proposed export facility near Kitimat.

Meanwhile the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has remained 'cautious' over LNG development in the region. Earlier this year the RDBN board said they were not satisfied with the responses provided by TransCanada so far with regard to pipeline concerns.

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