THE PROVINCIAL government says it’s working with the Nisga’a Nation on the development of four potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant sites on the north coast.
All four are either within Nisga’a Lands or are outside of Nisga’a Lands but owned in fee simple by the Nisga’a.
The Nisga’a began heavily promoting the four locations earlier this year and their viability increased this month when the Nisga’a announced they had a deal with a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines allowing a natural gas pipeline to cross through Nisga’a Lands on its way to a planned LNG plant at Prince Rupert.
A key part of that deal was the provision for some of that pipeline’s capacity to be used for a LNG plant in which the Nisga’a would be involved.
“The province is working with the Nisga’a regarding the four land sites they have identified as potential LNG sites. Those negotiations and discussions are ongoing,” said provincial aboriginal affairs minister John Rustad.
He said those discussions, which began at the request of the Nisga’a, are in the early stages and that nothing has been decided.
Promotional LNG material being distributed by the Nisga’a does indicate that one of the sites might require additional Crown land and that if so, the Nisga’a would collaborate with the province.
“At this point, it would be inappropriate to release specific details of discussions between the province and the Nisga’a Nation,” said Rustad.
But he did say talks include “very early discussions” with LNG proponents.
Nisga’a Lisims Government president Mitchell Stevens has spoken of the importance of the four locations several times, saying that when the Nisga’a were negotiating for what became Nisga’a Lands, that access to the ocean was crucial.
And at late last month’s signing of a deal in which the province is to pay the Nisga’a up to $6 million to have the TransCanada subsidiary pipeline cross Nisga’a Lands, Stevens stressed the need to add value to resources.
“We’re not interested in a pipe that comes from the northeast and brings raw resources to the coast,” Stevens said.
“What we are interested in is a pipe that gives us an opportunity to provide for an economic base for Nisga’a citizens. And these are the sites that were identified, which we own in fee simple.”
Stevens added that the provincial government’s support was needed to “jump through the hurdles and hoops.”
Nisga’a promotional material regarding the four potential sites indicates some could be suitable for land-based LNG plants or floating ones. It also stresses the ability of the Nisga’a to deal with LNG proponents because of the clarity of governance that comes from its 2000 land claims agreement with the provincial and federal governments.
The material indicates it would be cheaper to ship gas through a pipeline to those four locations than to have to ship gas further south to Prince Rupert.