Friday, May 15, 2015

Lax Kw'alaams Council: 'Open to Business ... it is not open to development proximate to Flora Bank"

The Proposed location for the
Petronas led LNG Terminal
for Lelu Island 
With three rounds of voting complete, the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council has made its first public commentary on the benefits package proposed by the Malaysian energy giant Petronas, part of that approach from that company to seek the support of the First Nation for their Lelu Island Terminal proposal .

The benefits package and associated information had been the subject of three community meetings, taking place in three locations over the last two weeks.

On Wednesday, Mayor Gary Reece and the Band Council for Lax Kw'alaams provided their first comments related to the three votes, providing a lengthy overview of what they have taken from those consultation sessions and where they believe the process now sits when it comes to the proposed development for Lelu Island.

The information statement consisted of fifteen points, which covered a range of issues related not only to the prospect of LNG development but with

In short, while it would appear that there is no interest from Lax Kw'alaams in seeing that area developed as an LNG Terminal, the Band Council appears to hold out the prospect of cooperation should another location for the terminal project be considered by Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Some of the key notes from the information release of Wednesday included:

Lax Kw'alaams Band Council issued
a statement this week on the recent vote
related to a benefits offer from Petronas
Lax Kw’alaams has engaged with PNW since 2011 and has consistently articulated that the proposed LNG Terminal must meet environmental safeguards appropriate for an estuary as important as the Skeena. 

The proponent has made little effort to harmonize its field methods or its standards of data collection and interpretation with those of Lax Kw’alaams, even though Lax Kw’alaams has offered several times to collaborate with PNW. 

 Lax Kw’alaams recognizes the positive economic impacts for all British Columbians that might result from a positive final investment decision by PNW. 
Lax Kw’alaams will continue to work with PNW in good faith to find a solution.

The Terminal is planned to be located in the traditional territory of the Lax Kw’alaams. Only Lax Kw’alaams have a valid claim to aboriginal title in the relevant area – their consent is required for this project to proceed. There are suggestions governments and the Proponent may try to proceed with the project without consent of the Lax Kw’alaams. That would be unfortunate.

While the benefits agreements concluded by other First Nations with PNW are a fact, they are not remotely determinative in this matter and do not affect the aboriginal rights and title of Lax Kw’alaams. 

While the significance of the foregoing matters might not be known to British Columbians, they are known generally by the provincial government and the federal government, and specifically by the Prince Rupert Port Authority (“PRPA”) (an agent of the federal government). All levels of government (and their agents) have a responsibility, fiduciary or otherwise, to discharge. To date, it is the considered opinion of the Lax Kw’alaams that there has been indifference to the point of negligence or wilful blindness, or both, by PRPA in respect of the PNW project.

Hopefully, the public will recognize that unanimous consensus in communities (and where unanimity is the exception) against a project where those communities are offered in excess of a billion dollars, sends an unequivocal message this is not a money issue: this is environmental and cultural. That unanimity was achieved in three separate community meetings.

Lax Kw’alaams is open to business, to development, and to LNG (including PNW). It is not open to development proximate to Flora Bank.

The full media release from the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council can be reviewed here.

The announcement from the community has provided for a bit of a seismic shock when it comes to development plans for British Columbia's still in development LNG industry.

With the vote and subsequent announcement that came from it making for a fair range of commentary on what it all means for the Petronas led bid and its plans for developing its LNG Terminal in that location.

Some suggest that the project is dead, while others offer up commentary that the proponent may look to find ways to address the concerns raised, while still looking to build their terminal project at the Lelu Island site.

You can review those items below:

Calgary Herald -- Pacific Northwest LNG project hits roadblock
Globe and Mail -- For the Lax Kw'alaams, cultural identity is priceless compared to LNG
Globe and Mail -- Pacific Northwest working to keep B. C. LNG export project alive
Globe and Mail -- Can Petronas overcome the opposition to its LNG project (video)
Financial Post -- B. C. First Nation rejects $1.15 billion Petronas led LNG deal: This is not a money issue'
Financial Post -- With its clean-burning LNG in the unwanted pile, B. C. is suddenly in an uncomfortable situation
Global News -- Lax Kw'alaams band says No to $1.15 billion LNG deal (with video)
Global News -- B. C. Premier says LNG Project will move forward
Business in Vancouver -- First Nation rejects $1b deal (video)
BC Business -- Billion dollar LNG deal with Lax Kw'alaams band goes south
Journal of Commerce -- First Nation notes against proposed $1.15 billion LNG facility
APTN -- Lax Kw'alaams First Nation alone in rejecting natural gas cash (with video)
CBC -- Lax Kw'alaams Band reject $!B LNG deal near Prince Rupert
CTV BC -- Pacific NorthWest LNG: What are the major issues?
Bloomberg -- Canada Aboriginals reject $960 Million Petronas Gas Deal
New York Times -- Canadian Aboriginal Group Rejects $1 Billion Fee for Natural Gas Project
Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- Native Band in Canada rejects $!.15 billion inducement from gas pipeline builder
The Tyee -- No Wealth, No Justice in $1 Billion LNG Offer to First Nation Band

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