Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Deputy Premier introduces Bill to regulate LNG industry in federal ports

Deputy Premier and LNG Minister
Rich Coleman in the Legislature on
Monday introducing Bill 12
While North Coast residents wait for word of progress on the number of LNG proposals for the area, the province and federal government are looking to reduce the bureaucratic clutter that could be a cause for concern for many would be developers.

The Province of British Columbia introduced a bill to the Legislature on Monday afternoon, one that will extend provincial authority and application of provincial law to LNG related development on federal port lands.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Gas Development Rich Coleman delivered Bill 12, the Federal Port Development Act to the Legislature, with LNG facilities in Prince Rupert expected to be the first to benefit from the co-operative Federal-Provincial arrangement.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG project for Lelu Island and Prince Rupert LNG the proposed LNG terminal development from BG, which is slated for development on Ridley Island, were the two projects that were mentioned in the Government media release on Monday, signalled as the most likely to benefit from the Bill at this time

Both of those proposed projects have been in a holding pattern of late, as Petronas and BG consider their options and await Final Investment Decisions.

“This legislation will continue to support British Columbia’s liquefied natural gas industry. Proponents will be able to invest in a facility knowing the rules that apply and provincial officials will ensure LNG operations are safe and environmentally sound.” -- Deputy Premier  and Natural Gase Minister Rich Coleman on Bill 12. 

The proposed legislation appears to extend provincial authority and application of provincial law to LNG related developments on federal port lands. As well, it is designed to provide for a seamless regulatory process that complements amendments made in 2014 to the Canada Marine Act.

However Marine traffic and LNG shipping operations will not be affected by the bill, and will continue to remain under the control of Transport Canada under the Canada Marine Act.

As part of the process of introduction, Minister Coleman offered up a short synopsis of the terms of the Bill for the Legislature:

I am pleased to introduce Bill 12, the Federal Port Development Act. This act builds on changes made to the Canada Marine Act by the federal government last year. The act would allow British Columbia to enter into agreements with Canada and port authorities to clarify regulatory oversight. 

Specifically, these arrangements would extend the role of the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission in the construction, operations and permitting of LNG facilities on federal port lands. Marine traffic and LNG shipping operations are not affected by this bill. 

The Federal Port Development Act will help ensure LNG facilities are consistently regulated in all of British Columbia and that LNG proponents can move forward with investments, knowing the provincial oversight is clear.

The Deputy Minister's background item included some quick facts related to both of the proposed North Coast LNG projects, you can review that advisory here.

Those interested in watching the Deputy Premier introduce the bill can follow along on the Legislature Video Archive (see the Chamber Video for Monday afternoon of February 16), Mr. Coleman's introduction takes place at the 18 minute mark on the timeline counter.

The Bill will now move forward on the Legislature calendar, placed on the orders of the day for second reading during today's Legislature session.

For a review of the number of LNG proposals announced for the North Coast region, including the Pacific NorthWest and BG projects, see our LNG archive page here.

For more items related to developments in Victoria see our Legislature archive page here.

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