Members of British Columbia's Lax Kw'alaams Band have voted in favour of continued discussions surrounding liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in their traditional territory, according to the provincial government.
Through a community poll, 65.5% of 812 members of the Lax Kw’alaams Band, located near Prince Rupert, expressed support for their council to continue discussions with both the Province and industry, provided the environment is protected.
“This is another step in a process that could lead to the Petronas project becoming a reality," said John Helin, Mayor of the Lax Kw’alaams Band. "We will have meetings with the appropriate parties – Petronas, the Province, and the federal government – to see what the next steps are for this proposed project. I appreciate the views and concerns of everyone and take them very seriously. We have not moved from our position about the environment, which is a very important component.”
The positive vote followed extensive informational meetings conducted by the Lax Kw’alaams council. During these sessions, band members reviewed the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal, the opportunities associated with LNG development, and plans for environmental protection and monitoring.
“The results of Lax Kw’alaams community poll show strong support for further discussions with government and industry proponents about potential LNG development," said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. "This is an important milestone and we share the First Nations goal of protecting the environment and providing positive outcomes for Lax Kw’alaams and all British Columbians as future agreements are pursued.”
Pacific NorthWest LNG is being reviewed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, with a decision expected in the near future. The proponent has already announced a conditional final investment decision and plans to review all elements of their facility following a verdict by the federal government.
Pacific NorthWest LNG received an Environmental Certificate from the Government of British Columbia in 2014.