Clark’s LNG promises still empty, despite federal approval, says NDP

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AGAs_LNG-terminalVICTORIA The federal environmental approval for Pacific Northwest LNG on Tuesday was little more than a reminder of Christy Clark’s failure to deliver even a single LNG plant, despite making it the key plank in the 2013 election campaign, say B.C. New Democrats.

“Christy Clark promised British Columbians an LNG windfall during the last election. She promised to have one plant up and running a year ago, and five by the end of the decade. She promised 100,000 new jobs and to deposit $100 billion in a prosperity fund. None of that has come true,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

“The premier keeps making promises she has no intention of keeping. She says LNG in B.C. will be the world’s cleanest, but the Petronas project she is promoting isn’t even the cleanest proposal in B.C. We could be doing much more to limit emissions from this project, but Premier Clark has refused to ensure high standards. Instead of mandating an emissions cap like the federal government, Clark has offered endless loopholes to proponents and actually signed an agreement that promises financial compensation to the company if any future provincial government tightens environmental regulations,” said Horgan.

“The premier is content to wait for world markets to support her plans for LNG development. But we need real, lasting sustainable jobs by investing in alternative energy, transit, infrastructure and high tech, and we need those jobs now.

“There’s another election campaign around the corner now, and the one thing Christy Clark called her ‘central preoccupation’ has not been achieved,” said Horgan. ”Why would British Columbians believe any of her promises?”

The federal government announced Tuesday that it was granting an environmental approval certificate to the Pacific Northwest LNG facility proposed by Malaysian-owned energy company Petronas. The approval came with 190 conditions.

“Getting the federal government’s go-ahead is certainly an  important step for any project. But it’s just one step. The only way an LNG plant is going to be built in B.C. is if a company makes a final investment decision to actually go ahead with one. In these market conditions, it’s hard to believe that will come any time in the next several years, never mind on Christy Clark’s political timetable before the next election,” said Bruce Ralston, New Democrat spokesperson for natural gas development and trade.

Ralston pointed out that New Democrats have long supported the development of an LNG industry in B.C., but have always insisted that any development must include express guarantees of jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians, get a fair return for our resources, benefit and include First Nations in a meaningful way; and protect our air, land and water, including living up to B.C.’s climate change commitments.

“Premier Clark’s agreements with Petronas have fallen short on almost every count. She agreed to practically give away our resource to Petronas, we know that the project will employ up to 70 per cent temporary foreign workers in some phases, and there remain some very serious concerns with First Nations communities,” said Ralston.

“We will be looking at the conditions set by the federal government in their approval very closely to understand whether they meet the test on the environmental conditions,” said Ralston.