05/13/2015 13:15 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 01:12 EDT

B.C. First Nation rejects $1.15 billion LNG deal, says it's 'not a money issue'

PORT SIMPSON, B.C. - A natural gas benefit offer worth $1.15 billion has been rejected by a First Nation on British Columbia's northwest coast.The Lax Kw'alaams (LACKS;-qwah-LAMBS') band council issued a statement saying its members voted against the deal during three separate community meetings.The offer from Pacific NorthWest LNG would have secured consent for a liquefied natural gas export terminal on Lelu Island on the band's territory just south of Prince Rupert, at the head of the Skeena River.Lax Kw'alaams members have raised concerns over potential environmental impacts the project would have on the salmon-rich Skeena River estuary.The band council says it hopes the vote sends a clear message that environmental and cultural issues override money.The news release says the band has been in talks with Pacific NorthWest LNG for four years and will continue to work with the Petronas-owned company to find a solution.Premier Christy Clark said Tuesday that she believes it is just a matter of time before a negotiated agreement is reached with the 3,700 member First Nation.