Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Build Canadian Refineries, access Canadian resources, Clean Energy options among themes for Skeena MLA in Legislature debates

Energy and Resource options has been a topic of much discussion
this week in the BC Legislature

The topic of accessing more Canadian oil and gas and adding to the infrastructure for refining petroleum as a way of reducing the cost at the pump for Canadians was part of the narrative for Skeena MLA Ellis Ross this week in the British Columbia Legislature.

The MLA who is the Liberal Party's energy critic, highlighted how British Columbia could be doing much more towards development of its own resources while expanding on the global scene for countries looking for ethical options for their energy needs.

He began his contribution to the debate on Monday as part of the morning session of the Legislature and as part of his narrative for the Legislature, Mr. Ross noted how revenues derived from British Columbia resources contribute towards education, health care and a number of other areas of spending in the province.

He also noted of some of the past projects that have packed up and left the province, as well as to point to some of the current projects still under consideration, including projects in Kitimat and the Nass Valley,  that could use some advocacy from the provincial government towards moving to the development stage.

Some of the Skeena MLA's comments from the Monday session can be reviewed from the video below

Mr. Ross returned to the discussion as part of Tuesday's debate on themes related to the Low Carbon Fuels Act, that discussion theme was focused on some of the work of First Nations leaders and representatives towards innovation and work on renewable energy elements.

I'll give you an example, one that plays directly into Bill 15, where we're talking about a company called Nation Clean Energy, in partnership with Rocky Mountain GTL Inc. 

What they proposed is basically renewable fuel for today's private sector, whether we're talking about airports, whether we're talking about the marine industry, for example — really large emitters of pollution and carbon. 

They've come up with this concept that has actually been built in Alberta already. Now, apart from the political branding I've been given on social media in terms of a skeptic…. I'm a skeptic of everything. I make sure I question everything. I like to think of it as critical thinking. 

It doesn't matter if you're talking about LNG, oil or clean energy. I want to know everything about it and whether or not it can be produced in a realistic and practical form, especially when we're talking about affordability, especially when we're talking about energy security, energy dependence.

Now, I know sometimes when we talk about zero emissions, we're talking about technicalities and we're talking about formulas, and maybe we're talking about some trading of carbon credits. In this case here, that's not what they're talking about. In fact, if anything, they've actually partnered up with the Musqueam. 

The director of business development, Jay Mearns, was in this Legislature today talking with members of government, from what I understand. 

Included on Mr. Ross's list of those participants towards clean energy options was that of  a familiar name on the North Coast. 

I know the counterpart up in Prince Rupert. His name is Chris Sankey. He used to be a councillor for Lax Kw'alaams and went into the private sector. He's all over the place in terms of the energy sector. 

They're typical of what First Nations are starting to evolve into. They're looking for clean energy solutions, in response not only to what B.C. is considering but also what Canada is considering, as well as the world ...  

This is brand-new in Alberta, so I can see how Bill 15 could exclude this new opportunity. It's too new. But people like Jay Mearns from Musqueam, the director of business development, and Chris Sankey, who owns Blackfish Incorporated, have actually been promoting this all across B.C. and Canada. 

They are getting good feedback, but unfortunately, they're not getting that extra push over the finish line that they need to incorporate this into today's economy. 

Towards that First Nation engagement with the resource sector, Mr. Ross recounted one potential project for the Musqueam First Nation and the challenges those proponents have faced to date.

In terms of what the Musqueam are thinking, they're pretty disappointed that an example of what can be done in terms of what Bill 15 is proposing, the Low Carbon Fuels Act, in terms of the agreement with Parkland…. Musqueam's pretty disappointed they weren't included. 

Talking with Jay Mearns from Musqueam, I hadn't realized this myself, even though I've actually experienced this in Kitamaat Village myself. 

The way he explained it to me was that it was an insult because ever since they got displaced off the lands that now became YVR airport, they've been breathing in the diesel exhaust fumes and all of the other fuels that get burned at YVR airport. 

It has affected their health, it has affected their land, and it has affected the Fraser River. 

Nothing's been done not only to remediate that impact on the land and the air and the water, but also nothing's been done to include the Musqueam in what's happening in their territory around them, including YVR as well as the Parkland refinery agreement that was just announced a couple of days ago. 

So they are disappointed. But they're not discouraged. 

They still want to see a solution, even in light of a Low Carbon Fuels Act omitting their project proposal in terms of producing a clean fuel. It's proven technology. It's not theory. It should fit perfectly within Bill 15, 2022 ...

In talking with Jay Mearns, we talked about how difficult it is for First Nations to engage in the economy, to engage in technical processes. I mean, really, we're still young. We're still learning this process, if you consider that our first formal steps into this world was actually started in 2004. That's not too long ago, when you consider how old Canada is or how old B.C. is. 

But the advancement and catching up to what the world thinks about in terms of emissions is remarkable. I read about this stuff back in 2004, 2006, but it was all theory. Nobody could make a commercial reason for this. It wasn't practical. They've now proved it. 

And so in terms of Bill 15, 2022, I know we're going to go through this in committee stage. I know that. 

We'll go through it word by word, but I will be looking for the clause and looking for some kind of amendment that allows Nation Clean energy's proposal, in partnership with Rocky Mountain GTL, and more importantly, including Musqueam in future agreements between the private sector and the provincial government to ensure that we capture the full potential of what we're trying to achieve in Bill 15, the Low Carbon Fuels Act.

The full Legislature record of his comments from Tuesday can be reviewed here, starting at the 2:25 PM  mark, you can also view his presentation from the Legislature Video page listed at the same time as the transcript.

More notes on the work of Northwest MLA's at the Legislature is available through our archive page.

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