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LETTER: BC Oil and Gas Commission still working through pandemic

Re: Skeena MLA advocates for small LNG project in Terrace, published June 3, 2020

Dear Editor,

I think it’s important to provide clarity on comments made about the BC Oil and Gas Commission in an article published June 3, 2020, especially those casting aspersions on the Commission’s review process.

We are indeed in a state of unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, BC Oil and Gas Commission staff continue to provide sound regulation of oil, gas and geothermal activities in B.C. All applications we receive are given a full rigorous review, which includes consultation with Indigenous communities, engagement with affected parties, ensuring industry complies with provincial legislation and permit conditions, and cooperation with partner agencies.

The various agencies and professional public servants who work hard on behalf of our province ensure proposals adhere to B.C.’s strict rules for protecting people and safeguarding the environment, before a project can go forward. Whether through the Environmental Assessment Office first and then the BC Oil and Gas Commission, or directly through the BC Oil and Gas Commission – all projects are required to adhere to the Oil and Gas Activities Act and other environmental laws.

Projects not adhering to those laws are generally not brought forward to the Commission. A project that makes it to the application submission stage is subjected to review by our experienced and trained public servants.

If the application meets all of B.C.’s requirements, often requiring changes to the original proposal, a permit with legally enforceable conditions can then be issued. These conditions and associated regulatory requirements are overseen by expert compliance and enforcement staff to ensure they are being met.

The BC Oil and Gas Commission is focused on ensuring public safety, protecting the environment, and conserving natural resources. I invite you to read more about our application review process by visiting bcogc.ca.

We will be following up with Terrace council to further discuss our process and ensure we understand any local concerns.

Paul Jeakins, Commissioner and CEO

BC Oil and Gas Commission

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