Monday, June 3, 2013

Could this in fact be the real reason, for the BC Liberal government, to be declaring they will not agree to the Northern Gateway Pipeline proceeding

Let me begin today's Conservative Thoughts blog post with the following:

"Under our feet lies as much energy as Alberta has in its oil patch. It is in the form of natural gas, a cleaner alternative to oil or coal, in the Northeast corner of British Columbia ... our goal is to have a Liquefied Natural Gas industry that will add value to our abundant natural gas resource by shipping it by sea to Asia ..." ~~~ 2013 BC Liberal Election Platform
 
I'll come back to this shortly.
 
With the Final Hearings and Questioning Phase yet to be held, by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel, the BC Liberal government Environment Minister, Terry Lake, has already announced "Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings." 
 
For those unaware ... there are still twelve days of hearings yet to be held in Terrace from June 17th and 28th.  Would it not seem to be in BC's best interests to wait for them (the hearings) to conclude before coming to that decision? 
 
BC needs a provincial government that is prepared to work with and for British Columbians, to implement policies that take full advantage of our natural resources, our geographic position, and our hard-working residents.  
 
Yet despite that, and just two short weeks after the provincial election, both Premier Christy Clark, and Environment Minister Terry Lake, are both showing the Liberals are going to be a failure in that area.  
 
Our province has suffered ongoing interprovincial population loses since Christy Clark first became Premier two and a half years ago.  With Environment Minister Terry Lake's announcement Friday, the people of BC can except that trend, officially documented and recorded by BC Stats, will continue. 
 
Once again, this government, led by Premier Christy Clark, is about to betray the hard working men and women of the Peace River and Northern BC, by rejecting the Northern Gateway development, before the Review Panel completes its duties. 
 
It's one thing to criticize, but what are your expectations; what will satisfy your government?  Both Terry Lake and Christy Clark can't simply say they are opposed.  What is the government's real position; and what outcomes do you need to have met, so that they can be realistically addressed. 
 
In a story on Saturday (June 1st), in the Kamloops Daily News, they state:
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen issued a statement saying the two provinces have a shared commitment to both protecting the environment and economic growth. 


I understand from B.C.’s announcement today that the government is not comfortable supporting the project as proposed without more assurance that environmental protection and public safety are adequately addressed.  B.C., like Alberta, wants to ensure that our energy development is responsible and safe.” 
 
Meantime that same Kamloops Daily News story goes on to say that ...
Janet Holder, executive vice-president for Enbridge, did not interpret the province’s submission as a rejection of the pipeline, but rather affirmation of the five conditions for approval that B.C. announced last year. 

Those conditions can’t be fully met until the panel process is complete at the end of this year, she said. In the interim, Northern Gateway will work with the province to meet those conditions.  We are working hard to meet the conditions and earn the confidence of the government and the people of BC". 

Further stating that the ... company is committed to building a pipeline and marine terminal project that “meets the highest possible safety and environmental standards anywhere in the world — and a project that creates new jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.” 

Now ... let's go back to that quote from the BC Liberal election platform, that I began today's post with:
 "Under our feet lies as much energy as Alberta has in its oil patch. It is in the form of natural gas, a cleaner alternative to oil or coal, in the Northeast corner of British Columbia ... our goal is to have a Liquefied Natural Gas industry that will add value to our abundant natural gas resource by shipping it by sea to Asia ..."

Could this in fact be the real reason for the BC Liberal government to be declaring, that they will not agree to the Northern Gateway Pipeline proceeding through British Columbia, before the hearings are over? 

And what of concerns, by many, that by the time we get BC's LNG projects online, there will be a glut on the market driving down prices?

Here's one thing that our Environment Minister has also not be so forthcoming on; this decision will likely mean that we may now the oil moved by rail car, through the province, to the coast of BC.  
Hundreds of kilometers of rail lines move through narrow canyons, and directly alongside rivers and waterways that residents are ultimately are dependent for drinking water, irrigation, and fisheries. 

That said, I for one have to think that moving the oil through a pipeline would be far safer than it would be by rail car. 

And finally ... I have to wonder why the BC government didn't simply wait the last couple of weeks remaining, for the official hearings to complete, before announcing their decision. 

I'm Alan Forseth in Kamloops with the thoughts of one conservative ... would you care to share yours?





Web-links ... Notes ... Odds' and Ends ... 
The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board. The Panel is charged with assessing the environmental effects of the proposed project and review the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.
 
Details and information on the specific process, the Joint Review Panel was to follow, is available at http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/bts/jntrvwprcss-eng.html  
 
Here is the link to Friday's news release by the BC government:  http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2013ENV0057-000930.htm 
 
Links to news stories on Terry Lake's announcement from Friday (May 30th)


     
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