Updated with audio: MP hosted LNG forum draws a crowd in Terrace, B.C.

The idea of a common energy corridor for potential pipeline routes in the area came up here at Nov. 13 forum on LNG (liquefied natural gas).

Kitselas First Nation councillor Judy Gerow, who was a member of the forum's panel, said in response to audience comments that she had discussed the idea with industry.

“We did ask the question about sharing pipelines and they said it wasn't possible,” Gerow said at the forum hosted by Skeena NDP MP Nathan Cullen.

The forum is one of several being hosted by Cullen across the riding featuring industry and energy stakeholders, environmental groups, and business representatives discussing LNG developments in the area.

It was held one day before the provincial legislature’s finance committee said the provincial Liberal government should consider a common pipeline corridor.

Gerow’s comment prompted Cullen to ask industry representatives why one route isn’t being proposed.

“The challenges that any one entity would have – whether that be federal or provincial government or any one of us (industry),” answered Shell/Canada LNG, which is proposing an export terminal at Kitimat, representative Suzannah Pierce, “is we would be picking winners and losers ...  If you put one pipeline corridor anywhere there, somebody is going to be farther away and somebody's going to have to pay the difference.”

Nearly 200 people attended the forum, held at the REM Lee Theatre.

“For a number of months people in the northwest have been coming to me saying they feel a bit overwhelmed with what's being proposed, they're having a hard time keeping track of all of the different proponents, all of the different pipelines and terminals and what they all mean. Not just for the projects themselves, but for the economic, environmental, local impacts,” Cullen said to the audience.

“This is a bit of a new model,” Cullen continued. “I've been to a lot of public meetings on resource development, I've been to meetings held by environment groups, and meetings hosted by First Nations, I've been to meetings hosted by the companies and I've often lamented that we couldn't have those presentations all at the same time in the same place so that I as a citizen could evaluate the pros and cons of any project being presented in the same way.”

Panelists included the aforementioned Gerow and Pierce, Clean Energy Canada representative Jeremy Moorhouse; Cheryl Brown of Douglas Channel Watch; and Janice Shaben, president of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce. Geoff Morrison, of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) was also in the audience, and fielded questions relevant to his association.

And there were a number of audience questions.

Increased helicopter traffic, decreased air and water quality, negative affects on wildlife and eco-tourism, lack of sufficient housing, increased emissions, and overall health impacts were just some of the concerns raised by audience members and some panelists throughout the evening.

Local panelists – Shaben, Brown, and Gerow – all described the pace of development as overwhelming, touching on the various decisions their groups, and the area community, have had to confront in what they say is a relatively short time.

Shaben said residents need to keep a keen eye on developments, and ensure Terrace receives a fair share of the revenue from these projects, as our infrastructure will feel the strain – a sentiment echoed by Terrace city councillor Bruce Bidgood, who asked Pierce during the question period whether her company would publicly support council's bid for a northwest revenue sharing agreement similar to that which exists in northeast B.C. when meeting with government officials.

While Pierce said she hadn't explored the idea of a revenue sharing agreement, one of the things the company is looking at doing would be to conduct a “social impact assessment”, which considers road use, hospitals, infrastructure, emergency services.

“All of those things are part of what we have to assess as a project proponent so we can make sure the local community has what they need in order to maintain the quality of life and the services that they have,” Pierce said.

In response to an audience question about recommendations on the best way to study the cumulative effects of a project, Douglas Channel Watch's Brown said there needed to be the total cumulative effects of all of the projects need to be studied.

“All projects need to be evaluated within a strategic environmental assessment piece that would include all projects, all having to consider one another,” Brown said.

“Right now they don't have to consider one another at all.”

Listen to a recording of the event here: or by clicking the link at the top of the article.

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