VICTORIA – First Nations involvement with B.C.’s developing LNG industry received another boost with a new Pipeline Benefits Agreement (PBA) with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink (CGL) Pipeline would provide the First Nation with direct benefits to its community, support economic development and access to employment opportunities. The proposed pipeline would run from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.
Pipeline benefits agreements with First Nations are part of the B.C. government’s comprehensive plan to partner with First Nations on LNG opportunities, which also includes increasing First Nations’ access to skills training and environmental stewardship projects.
Lheidli T’enneh will receive an initial payment of $248,000, $1.24 million when construction starts and another $1.24 million once the pipeline is in service. Lheidli T’enneh will also receive a yet-to-be determined share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits. The ongoing benefits will be available to all First Nations along the natural gas pipeline route.
Lheidli T’enneh previously signed a PBA related to the Pacific Trail Pipeline through its membership in the First Nations Limited Partnership. The Partnership consists of 16 First Nations who will share benefits once construction has started.
Provincial benefit-sharing offers First Nations the resources to partner in economic development and is a way for government and First Nations to work together to help grow the LNG industry. It also complements industry impact benefit agreements that provide jobs and business opportunities. Lheidli T’enneh has just signed a long-term project agreement with TransCanada related to CGL, which outlines financial and other benefits and commitments that will be provided to the community while the proposed pipeline is in service.
“Every LNG agreement we reach with First Nations shows our commitment to work in partnership with communities to ensure they are involved in pipeline development in a way that creates employment opportunities close to home and supports families and communities becoming stronger and more successful,” said John Rustad, B.C.’s minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.
Chief Dominic Frederick, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, said, “Strong economic development is essential to keep our community thriving. This pipeline benefits agreement with the Province gives the people of Lheidli T’enneh the ability to be a full partner in the opportunities LNG offers. It will provide jobs for our young people and a secure future for their families.”
* Located on the Fraser and Nechako Rivers near Prince George, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation has approximately 320 members and is in the final stage of treaty negotiation.
* The Province has now achieved 62 Pipeline Benefits Agreements with 28 First Nations.
* The Province issued environmental assessment certificates for the proposed CGL and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission projects in the fall of 2014. In addition to meeting conditions set out in respective environmental assessment certificates, the projects require various federal, provincial and local government permits to proceed.
* There are 20 First Nations along the proposed CGL pipeline project.
* In July 2015, the B.C. Legislature received Royal Assent for the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreement Act, which provides the legislative authority for government to enter into LNG project agreements.
* Pipeline benefits agreements between the Province and First Nations are separate from industry-led impact benefit agreements. Industry proponents are working directly with First Nations on their own agreements.
A copy of the Pipeline Benefits Agreement can be found on ow.ly/VGGMx