Monday, November 3, 2014

MLA Rice outlines a number of concerns on Liberal Government's Bill 2 provisions on LNG

Last week, MLA Jennifer Rice outlined her opposition to the Liberal Government's LNG Bill, known as Bill 2.

Offering her observations and commentary to the Wednesday Afternoon session of the Legislature all part of the Second reading process of the proposed legislation.

The North Coast MLA highlighted her concerns over Green House Gas emissions and offered up some observations on the Government's recent tax regime announcement, which features a scaled back expectation on returns for the Provincial treasury.

The bulk of last week in the Legislature was taken up with conversations on the issues of LNG and focused a great deal on the potential levels of Green House Gas that could come from development of the resource in the province.

For the Northwest, MLA Robin Austin was carrying the bulk of the conversation, with Ms. Rice providing her contribution during Wednesday's afternoon session.

Her focus when it came to the environment was to seek protection of air, land and water resources and to ensure that the province lived up to its Climate Change commitments.

Those aspects can be reviewed from these excerpts from the Legislative records from Wednesday:

Global climate change is that — a global issue. It's the issue of this generation. It should be imminent, uppermost, on our minds. I'd like to say that I support LNG for British Columbians. I support LNG for British Columbians, provided that it comes with good-paying jobs for British Columbians. I support it if we get a fair return for our resources.

I support it if First Nations are respected and they benefit from the resource. Lastly, and obviously, I support it if the protection of our air, land and water, including living up to our climate change commitments, are upheld. Bill 2 clearly does not meet this test. 

The North Coast MLA also expanded her review of the situation to developments in Prince Rupert, making comments related to the anticipation in the community regarding the LNG industry proposals here, as well as to express her concerns over the need for consultation with First Nations of the Northwest.

Ms. Rice also reviewed for the Legislature her thoughts on the balance between the enthusiasm for the prosperity promised by the Premier and the need to gain a fair return for the province's resources.

 I support good-paying LNG jobs for the local people in my community of Prince Rupert. They eagerly await the promised benefits from our enthusiastic Premier. The Premier touted a trillion-dollar industry for northern British Columbia, and my constituents eagerly await this prosperity. It is paramount that LNG proponents enter into express guarantees that put jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians first.

 As I said, we need to be guaranteed a fair return for our resources. However, we now see those benefits being cut in half. In the North Coast nearly half of the population that I represent is aboriginal. It's paramount that First Nations are being respected, made partners in LNG, and their rights to a share of the benefits must be recognized. There must be protection of our air, our land and our water, including living up to our climate change commitments. As I said, Bill 2 clearly does not meet this test, and I will outline why.

Towards an explanation as to how Bill 2 is failing to meet the test, Ms. Rice called on the recent events related to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline controversy and her concerns over the flexible nature nature of the benchmarks that the LNG industry is being afforded through the Liberal legislation.

I parallel this to the way the National Energy Board terms of reference for the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline project were examined. That process did not look at the Alberta tar sands. It only looked at what the pipeline impacts would be. Yet tar sands development would need to be created, and industry would need to be stimulated in order to produce enough bitumen to put in that pipeline. 

All they wanted to examine was the impacts of the pipeline. Again, that's not realistic. According to the Pembina Institute, upstream emissions account for approximately 70 percent of GHG emissions in the LNG life cycle, and they're not covered by this legislation. 

The legislation also provides LNG proponents with the flexibility to meet that benchmark. If proponents cannot reduce their GHG emissions to the 0.16 carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of LNG produced, they can either (1) invest in B.C.-based offset at market prices or (2) contribute to a technology fund at a rate of $25 per tonne. Therefore, this legislation does not actually require LNG operators to reduce their GHG emissions.
She wrapped up her presentation to the Legislature, with a review of some comments from the Organization Clean Energy Canada, highlighting their concern over the Government's legislation.

You can review, the North Coast MLA's full overview from the Wednesday, Draft minutes, listed at the 1605-16012 mark.

The video archive of the Wednesday session can be found here, use the Chamber Video listing for Wednesday afternoon to view the proceedings, Ms. Rice's contribution arrives at the 16:05 point of the Clock.

Or from this version of her comments posted to YouTube

For more items related to her work at the British Columbia Legislature see our archive page here.

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