Too prudent?

Province remains silent on liquefied natural gas details

WITH final investment decision timelines of several liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects already being extended and a continuing swirl of activity around the world in the race to supply the product to waiting customers, the provincial government has been correctly prudent in not forecasting any tax dollars from the industry in future budget planning.

It’s also been fairly prudent and low key in working with northwestern local governments to prepare for what might happen should the regional population increase.

But where the province has been too low key and where being prudent has risks is its so-far muted explanation of the ins and outs of how the industry works right from how the gas is extracted to when it sails off overseas in its supercooled form.

The general consensus, so far, is that natural gas is relatively benign but any industry has its environmental as well as social risks. And to date, the province has been strangely silent in tackling either issue in any substantive form.

A bit of a push back is starting to appear around LNG as more questions emerge. And, perhaps in response and in the need to get out in front of the topic, LNG companies have now formed a coalition to explain themselves. And so they should.

But that does not mean the province should be silent in its role as the guardian of the public trust when it comes to resource development.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, July 2, 2014