Nisga’a ink major natural gas pipeline deal

Provincial legislation also permits taxation of industrial projects

The Nisga’a Nation has signed a deal with a natural gas pipeline builder that it says will bring substantial economic benefits to its residents and others in the Nass Valley.

Dollar values were not immediately released by the Nisga’a Lisims Government but the deal with Trans Canada Pipelines for its planned Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project to pump natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a planned liquefied natural gas plant at Prince Rupert calls for annual payments and business and contract opportunities.

The agreement, signed off yesterday, comes at the same time as the provincial government has introduced legislation to provide the Nisga’a with taxation powers for industrial activity on Nisga’a lands and for the removal of land from the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park to allow for a better route for the pipeline.

The pipeline is to end at Lelu Island near Prince Rupert at an LNG plant to be built by Petronas, a company owned by the Malaysian government.

At 900 kilometres long, the pipeline will run 85 kilometres through Nisga’a Lands and approximately 12 kilometres adjacent to Hwy113 on land to be removed from the lava bed park.

The route was developed after a comprehensive analysis which balanced the impacts of the project on Nisga’a Treaty interests with the benefits the Nisga’a Nation will receive under the agreement,” indicates a Nisga’a statement.

Two other routes were considered and then rejected because of their environmental and other impacts.

Exclusive contracting opportunities to flow to the Nisga’a from the development include right-of-way clearing, camp services, security, and medical services on Nisga’a Lands.

The statement said pipeline corridor rights being granted do not constitute sales of Nisga’a Lands.

There are also two side arrangements in the broader deal which could affect Nisga’a citizens.

One is to determine the feasibility of constructing a natural gas distribution system to serve homes in the Nass Valley.

And the other gives the Nisga’a an option to secure Prince Rupert Gas Transmission expansion capacity for the use of a future LNG developer who would build an LNG facility “at a site on or near Nisga’a Lands.”

The latter continues plans by the Nisga’a to develop their own LNG industry by already identifying and promoting several plant locations along the north coast.