Thursday, November 20, 2014

The NDP's Horgan and Austin have some thoughts when it comes to LNG prospects for Prince Rupert

It's been an interesting week for the NDP view of how the LNG industry is faring when it comes to North Coast development prospects.

With both NDP leader John Horgan and Skeena MLA Robin Austin making mention of some of the Prince Rupert LNG options in recent days.

The first of the conversation topics came out of the NDP leader's recent tour of the Northwest.

As we outlined earlier this week, Mr. Horgan was in Prince Rupert over the weekend and previous to that had been in Terrace, attending party functions in the two communities and getting some feedback from local NDP supporters.

And while he managed to slip into Prince Rupert without much media attention, when he was in Terrace, the NDP leader gave an interview to the Terrace Standard. Offering up some comments which seem to suggest that the NDP isn't fully convinced that the two most prominent LNG Projects mentioned for Prince Rupert will come to pass.

Mr. Horgan was asked about the BG proposal for Prince Rupert, a much anticipated project for the region which was recently announced as being on a pause.  The key takeaway from his conversation with the Terrace paper came when Mr. Horgan offered up a fairly declarative, if rather succinct thought, suggesting that when it comes to the Prince Rupert LNG project that it was done.

He was a little more guarded when it comes to the Petronas plans for Lelu Island, but did make note of the current controversy regarding that application, making mention that "The Skeena River has some salmon in it."

Observing further as to  how the ongoing review will shed more light on the impacts of the Skeena River estuary and its salmon hosting role.

The other comment that might raise some eyes in Prince Rupert, was his view that the prospects of LNG development in Kitimat are more favourable than around Prince Rupert.  Going further Mr. Horgan stated to the Standard "I think LNG in Kitimat before Prince Rupert"

The article is available through the Terrace Standard's e-edition,  and can be found on Page A27

While Mr. Horgan's thoughts we're being relayed through the Terrace paper, the MLA for that region Robin Austin, was offering up a few ideas of his own on the future of LNG to the Legislature.

Making note of the  current discussion surrounding the Lelu Island project and then, offering up what appears to be a plan B for LNG development, should the Lelu Island proposal not move forward.

With the Skeena MLA suggesting that perhaps the Nisga'a may have a few development sites available should the folks at Petronas need to look for a new location.

The Skeena MLA made his statements as part of the discussion on Bill 8 - The Protected Areas of British Columbia Act, with Mr. Austin offering up the following:

Also, I think, not mentioned, but it's no secret, is that the Nisga'a have themselves gone to Asia, particularly to Korea, and have been promoting potential sites for an LNG plant on their territory. 

So who knows? 

If the Petronas project does not come to fruition, maybe the Nisga'a would be able to take advantage of this proponent and this pipeline route to further their own ends in making sure that there's a different LNG plant on their own territory.

Mr. Austin's comments to the Legislature can be found in the Legislature Hansard record at the 15:40 Mark.

The video can be reviewed at from the Legislature Chamber Video Archive for Tuesday afternoon, his comments can be reviewed at the 15:40 mark

And while Mr. Austin is doing a good job of keeping an eye on his riding and in seeking out prospects for future development for his constituents.

Some ninety miles down the road, the commentary should be of a little concern to those on the North Coast. Particularly with those who are looking for a little clarity on where the NDP stands on the issue of LNG and perhaps might wish to see just a little more support from the party when it comes to development prospects for the LNG industry in Prince Rupert.

Newly elected Mayor Lee Brain and his soon to be sworn in Council might also be wondering what kind of impact that the NDP comments might have on the city's plans.  Especially when it comes to potential LNG development and the prospect of the much desired revenue streams that it could provide to the city.

We're not sure where all of this might leave North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, as when it comes to the comments of the last week from some of her fellow members of the NDP caucus, it appears that she has been left out of the LNG discussion.

But one thing is certain, the first thing she might want to do is to have a conversation with both Mr. Horgan and Mr. Austin, to suggest that they not make her life, quite so difficult with the folks back home when it comes to the LNG file.

You can review more of our items about developments from the British Columbia Legislature from our Archive page.

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