NEWS

B.C. government plans rare summer legislature session for LNG deal

06/23/2015 03:45 EDT | Updated 06/23/2016 05:59 EDT
The B.C. government plans to have a rare summer sitting of the legislature to pass law changes that would clear the way for a controversial LNG facility near Prince Rupert.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced Tuesday the legislature will be recalled on July 13, to debate legislation that would enable the project agreement signed between B.C. and Pacific NorthWest LNG, which is owned in majority by Malaysia's Petronas.

Last month, Premier Christy Clark announced the agreement in principle with the energy giant to build a terminal on Lelu Island, south of Prince Rupert, which Clark said would mean $36 billion investment for the province.

Now, the company has ratified that agreement, and the government needs to introduce legislation to ratify the deal on its part. That means the project development agreement will be released publicly.

The proposed project would still face several hurdles beyond the B.C. legislature, including a federal environmental assessment.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG project has also faced concerns from some First Nations, including the Lax Kw'alaams Band in Prince Rupert, which voted to reject a $1-billion deal with the company.

Among the band's concerns is the placement of the LNG terminal at the mouth of the Skeena — an important river for salmon — and whether it would damage sensitive eel grass beds, which are critical fish habitat.

"The Province will continue to work with First Nations and the proponent as they work to achieve the highest environmental standards, including the protection and enhancement of the fish habitat," wrote the government in a release.

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