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Ottawa approves Pacific Northwest LNG, with conditions

The federal government has approved the Pacific Northwest LNG project, with conditions.

At a news conference in Richmond Tuesday evening, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc announced that the liquefied natural gas project planned for Lelu Island near Kitimat can move forward if it meets 190 environmental conditions.

If built the export terminal would be the single largest source of greenhouse gas emission in the country, something McKenna says will be addressed on a hard cap for the plant. Opponents were also concerned about the impact of the plant of salmon habitat.

Members of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation began shouting as the announcement wound down, leading McKenna to say they “stand behind their science”

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“I hear concerns here around the salmon. That was a significant concern for me, it was a significant concern for my colleagues. So we took the time that was required; we took three additional months – some people were not happy about that. Because we really wanted to understand the impact on a very important fishery.”

The Liberal cabinet met today in Ottawa to discuss the project, with the trio of Ministers boarding a plane for BC shortly afterwards.

Chief Namoks with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en flew to Ottawa for a meeting Tuesday on the export terminal, which was cancelled as the Ministers flew west.

“We came from the other end of Canada to meet them, and they jump on a plane to go back to where we just came from,” said Namoks, otherwise known as John Ridsdale.
Regardless, he says they will be fighting the decision.

“We called our litigation teams and told them to get the ball rolling.”

While this represents a significant hurdle for the project, it in no way means guarantees it will be built. The company behind the project, Petronas, still has to bring the proposal before shareholders. Low natural gas commodity prices and an oversupply on world markets makes that far from a sure thing.

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