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NDP downplays rift with Green Party over LNG plans

B.C Environment Minister George Heyman is downplaying a rift with the B.C. Green Party even though Green Leader Andrew Weaver is threatening topple the government because of LNG. Seen here is a LNG project in Kitimat, B.C.
B.C Environment Minister George Heyman is downplaying a rift with the B.C. Green Party even though Green Leader Andrew Weaver is threatening topple the government because of LNG. Seen here is a LNG project in Kitimat, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Robin Rowland

B.C.s’s environment minister is downplaying any potential rift with the Green Party, over its leader’s threats to potentially topple the government over the NDP’s new LNG plan.

Speaking on CKNW’s The Lynda Steele Show on Thursday, George Heyman said he does not believe there is tension growing between the Green Party and NDP. He said much of the work the NDP does with the Greens surrounds action on climate, especially when it comes to the LNG terminal in Kitimat.

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“We’re committed to that, John Horgan is committed to that, I’m committed to that. That takes the shape of setting targets and a real plan to meet them,” Heyman said. “I spoke with Dr. [Andrew] Weaver on numerous occasions, most recently last Thursday, and said I want to work with him as we develop the plan.”

Weaver said on Thursday that the NDP’s LNG plan violates the parties’ power-sharing deal, but that he won’t topple the government over it just yet.

Heyman’s comments come on the heels of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s announcement that the province will provide a PST exemption on construction costs of any LNG facility. The NDP government is projecting the proposed LNG Canada facility would receive a $6-million tax break. LNG facilities would also see carbon taxes capped at $30.

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Heyman also drew a distinction between the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which the NDP opposes, and LNG. He said the NDP had been clear with LNG Canada that the government was firm on its climate plan.

“It will have us at the centerpiece to legislated greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 on the way to 2050, and that’s the cornerstone of the plan,” Heyman said. “If the plan can’t meet those targets, then its not a real plan.”

READ MORE: Weaver loses confidence in NDP government over LNG, but won’t take them down

LNG Canada is expected to make a final investment decision by the fall of 2018 on the export project in Kitimat. The project would be the biggest capital project in B.C. history with an expected investment of $40 billion.