Northern mayors make pitch for LNG industry support

Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead, along with Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth urge the provincial and federal governments to develop a liquified natural gas industry in B.C. at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George Thursday. Bill Phillips photo
Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead, along with Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth urge the provincial and federal governments to develop a liquified natural gas industry in B.C. at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George Thursday. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

The liquefied natural gas industry in British Columbia has not disappeared.

That was the message loud and clear as northern mayors led by Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead, and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, flooded the stage at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum to urge both the provincial and federal governments get behind the industry. Close to half of the crowd at the forum got up on the stage to show their support.

“For more than 70 years natural gas has been developed safely in British Columbia and has brought significant benefits to the province and Canada,” she said quoting a letter she and Bumstead had drafted earlier. “We now have an opportunity to build on B.C.’s long history of responsible development and adding value to our resources, by developing a liquefied natural gas industry.”

She said B.C. will produce the ‘greenest LNG’ in the world.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross records the northern mayors’ show solidarity for the liquefied natural gas industry at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum Thursday. Bill Phillips photo

“We need to make sure British Columbians and Canadians see the benefit of adding value to our natural gas, diversifying our trade opportunities instead of allowing our natural gas to be shipped, raw, to the United States which is currently our only market outside of Canada.”

Most people know British Columbia has a huge amount of natural resources, said Bumstead, but what isn’t often known is how prolific and world class those resources are.

“(Northern B.C.) sits upon one of the major assets in northern America,” he said. “The Montney today, has in excess of 100 years of proven potential … We have these world class assets, we have the opportunity to develop them. We need to demonstrate that support to our province and our country about how significant this opportunity is.”

Haisla Nation councillor Kevin Stewart also voiced his support for the industry.

“The companies that our in our territory, Chevron and LNG Canada, showed the right way business is done with First Nations,” he said. “They were respectful and we very much want to see these projects make an FID (final investment decision) … It brings hope to our people. We need those jobs.”

Germuth said the importance of the industry cannot be overstated.

“This is a great benefit to Canada, this is a great benefit on a global scale,” he said.

Germuth said emerging economies around the world need an option to get away for burning coal.

“We all here today to encourage both provincial and federal governments to support the LNG industry and make sure that it happens,” he said.