Re: “Northwest BC NDP MLA seeks LNG clarity,” The Terrace Standard, Aug. 14, 2013.
After reading some of the comments made by Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin in your Aug. 14, 2013 issue, I think it is important for me to respond and provide British Columbians with a better perspective on what is actually happening.
We have built strong business relationships with Asia and have attracted major investments to help us build a liquefied natural gas export industry in B.C. – the first of its kind in North America.
In fact, over the last year we have seen the number of LNG proposals in our province increase to more than ten.
I consider that major progress on our commitment to create new markets for our natural gas, and significant proof that global industry players are sincere about building LNG export facilities in our province.
It has required action on our behalf to get us to where we are today, including adjustments to B.C.’s Clean Energy Act to make sure we could host a viable LNG industry and have the means to power new facilities.
Make no mistake; we have more work to do, but the comments made by Skeena’s MLA provide little acknowledgment of the progress made so far.
More than anything, his comments provide false suggestions that B.C. is at a standstill with moving LNG projects forward.
Let’s be clear, progress is happening. We will meet our LNG commitments, and we will do so by engaging with industry through the entire process.
We are now finalizing negotiations with industry to determine the exact means of how taxation and revenue collection will be applied to LNG operations in B.C.
These negotiations will lead to the establishment of a B.C. Prosperity Fund – a fund industry fully supports I might add – which will secure wealth for our province and protect it for future generations.
In fact, revenues could be in excess of $100 billion over the next 30 years.
As part of our plan for a debt-free B.C., this fund will reduce cost burdens for families, and strengthen the economy with services people rely on such as health care and education.
Our environment will not be compromised either. British Columbia’s LNG industry will be supported by renewable energy options and world leading environmental policies.
Positive discussions are taking place with industry to ensure we have the cleanest LNG industry in the world.
Also worth noting: B.C.’s natural gas – the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel – will also help markets in Asia transition away from other, dirtier sources of energy like coal.
The reality is this will be an entirely new industry for B.C., and for Canada.
Its development is not happening overnight, but significant progress has been made and our government continues to champion its future for the benefit of all British Columbians.
Working with industry, First Nations, and local communities, we will continue to advance the opportunity we have created.
And we will establish a strong, prosperous, competitive economy for generations to come.
Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing,