Government of Canada

 

Additional materials 2 requested from Pat Moss re Prince Rupert Presentation Received Dec. 14, 2016

Submitted By: Pat Moss December 28, 2016

Reference: 103257

October 31, 2013

Calvin Sandborn
Legal Director
Environmental Law Centre
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700 STN CSC
Victoria BC V8W 2Y2

Dear Mr. Sandborn:

Thank you for your request that BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) conduct a strategic economic and environmental assessment of liquid natural gas (LNG) development in BC.

Your letter of August 1, 2013, requests that a strategic assessment be conducted because of your view that LNG development in BC is being conducted in an ad hoc manner is not reflective of BC’s approach as we pursue the development of our world-class natural gas resources.

From the very earliest stages of planning, government carefully considered the benefits and implications of LNG development. That is why government’s pursuit of this once in a lifetime opportunity includes a commitment to ensuring that LNG operations in BC are the cleanest in the world.

One of the attractants for LNG proponents is the high quality, stable and predictable regulatory regime in BC and Canada – something British Columbians should be proud of. BC’s regulatory regime is, in my opinion, one of the best in the world.

EAO is a rare entity in the global setting. Rather than having multiple agencies review major projects, BC’s environmental assessment process is led by a single office. This allows for a highly cohesive approach to managing the values in the BC Environmental Assessment Act – environment, economy, social, health and heritage. In addition, the Oil and Gas Commission is a single entity dedicated to the regulation of oil and gas activities in BC.

EAO and the Oil and Gas Commission are working closely together to provide a robust and predictable regulatory regime for LNG proponents in BC so that LNG development, if it is authorized, meets the high regulatory standards set out in BC’s legislation.

In addition, EAO has established an LNG Regulatory Working Group. This team of senior officials represents the Ministry of Environment; Natural Gas Development; Health; Transportation and Infrastructure; Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation; Oil and Gas Commission; BC Hydro, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations; Community, Sport and Cultural Development; and Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

The team is dedicated to identifying and analyzing issues that are common across project specific environmental assessments. The group anticipates that air quality, human health considerations, greenhouse gas emissions, stewardship of our world class fish and wildlife resources, social and economic implications, and heritage, among other topic areas, will be at the forefront of their efforts.
On the questions you raise regarding economic considerations, the Ministry of Natural Gas Development is working closely with LNG proponents to ensure that BC’s revenue interests are met. I can assure you that your government is working hard to set the stage for these global companies to invest and succeed in BC.

I agree with your comments regarding the value in learning from other jurisdictions, and, in fact, EAO has been conducting a jurisdictional analysis for exactly that reason. EAO continues to examine opportunities to avoid some of the issues that have characterized LNG development in other jurisdictions.

LNG development is a generational opportunity with the potential for significant, long term benefits to all British Columbians. Positioning BC to embrace this opportunity means that the protection of our environment and human health are at the forefront of our considerations.

I appreciate the time and effort that went into your submission. I am confident that the current environmental assessment process for proposed LNG projects is not only appropriate but highly effective. My staff in EAO will be reaching out to you to discuss your submission in more detail should you choose to do so.

Sincerely,

Mary Polak
Minister


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