Reversal of changes to gas plant and ski hill assessment exposes cost of BC Liberal failure to consult

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VICTORIA — The B.C. Liberal government’s chaotic approach to environmental assessment changes creates an atmosphere of distrust and uncertainty for communities, First Nations and industry that will only slow down industrial projects, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

“What the B.C. Liberals don’t seem to understand is that ramming through changes to the rules that protect our air, land and water, without the support of the public and First Nations, doesn’t speed anything up and it isn’t better for industry in the long run,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.

“Weakening rules meant to protect our health and the environment creates an atmosphere of distrust that will only make it more difficult to develop social license to move forward with LNG and other projects. Failing to meaningfully consult with First Nations and local communities only slows industry down and creates greater uncertainty on the land base.”

Chandra Herbert commended Chief Sharleen Gale of the Fort Nelson First Nation and all members of the First Nations Leadership council, for successfully pushing back against the B.C. Liberal’s attempt to exempt sweet gas plants and ski hills from assessment.

“First Nations leaders showed the B.C. Liberal government what true leadership looks like this week,” said Chandra Herbert. “It starts with listening to the people that you represent.”

Chandra Herbert also noted that this isn’t an isolated incident. The Liberal government just passed a bill weakening protections for our parks, and they are trying to make it easier to develop farmland as well. In both cases the government failed to consult First Nations and the broader public about the changes.

“The B.C. Liberals have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to consult before making massive changes that impact communities and First Nations,” said Chandra Herbert.

“I hope the reversal of their decision to exempt ski hills and gas plants from environmental assessment will cause them to think twice about continuing with other changes to the laws protecting our land without bringing communities and First Nations on board.”