Haisla Chief frustrated waiting on regulatory decision for Cedar LNG
Indigenous communities hope for economic and social transformation as they develop large resource projects
by James Snell
The Haisla Nation is growing anxious for a regulatory decision on its proposed $3-billion Cedar LNG project on the west coast of Canada at the Port of Kitimat.
If constructed, the floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, in partnership with Pembina Pipeline, would be one of the largest industrial projects ever developed by an Indigenous community in Canada.
An approval decision from provincial and federal authorities was expected before the end of 2022.
“In regard to the approval of the environmental assessment, it has definitely been frustrating, to say the least,” said Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith during an interview at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum in January.
“Cedar LNG is at such a critical point with what’s happening globally in the energy sector.”
A spokesperson for the Government of British Columbia said the Cedar LNG project is still being reviewed.
“Under the 2002 Environmental Assessment Act, the 45-day deadline can be extended if ministers need additional time to review materials, to seek further information or to carry out additional consultation,” the province said in a statement to CEC.
The federal government is coordinating the timing of its decision with the Government of British Columbia, a spokesperson said.
Cedar LNG would produce approximately three million tonnes of LNG per year. By comparison, Phase 1 of the LNG Canada project, also in Kitimat, will produce 14 million tonnes.
Smith said there’s a huge need for Canadian LNG to offset coal-fired power generation in Asia.
World coal use rose to a new record in 2022, primarily driven by China and India, according to the International Energy Agency.
By replacing coal power in Asia, LNG from Canada could reduce emissions by the equivalent of taking all cars off Canada’s roads, says Wood Mackenzie.
Cedar LNG would be of significant economic benefit to the Haisla Nation, the province, and the federal government, added Smith, chairperson of the First Nations LNG Alliance.
“Our territory is not in a bubble and protected from what is happening in Asia and India with coal burning,” she said. “Cedar is not only important from a Haisla perspective, [but from] a global perspective.”
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