‘A spectacular day for British Columbians’: Premier Horgan vows to hit climate targets even with LNG emissions
The B.C. government is promising to hit climate action goals following a massive $40-billion investment by LNG Canada to build a liquefied natural gas facility in Kitimat.
B.C. Premier John Horgan says the project is expected to generate about $23 billion in public revenues over 40 years.
“This is a spectacular day for all British Columbians, again not one that happened today, not one that happened yesterday but one that has happened over the past few decades,” Horgan said. “I can’t tell you how proud and pleased I am to have the opportunity to lead the government to work with all levels of government to make life better for British Columbians. I can’t stop smiling.”
WATCH HERE: Kitimat reacts to announcement of huge LNG project
Horgan sat alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and industry leaders to sign the final investment decision on Tuesday morning. The B.C. government has committed to a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Horgan told reporters that British Columbia will build a climate action plan, to be unveiled this fall, and the province is committed to meeting its emission goals.
WATCH HERE: Horgan says he believes he can convince Weaver to accept LNG facility
“This is not a zero sum game and I understand that,” said Horgan. “I believe that we can meet the objectives we have set for ourselves over the next 12, then 23 years and we will be working in concert with other levels of government and Indigenous communities to hit those targets.”
LNG Canada has committed to making the Kitimat facility the cleanest LNG project in the world. But the Pembina Institute has calculated that the two approved projects, LNG Canada and Woodfibre LNG, would collectively increase annual carbon pollution by 9.1 megatonnes by 2030, and 10.2 megatonnes by 2050.
Trudeau said that where the project will reduce carbon emissions is in India and China, where LNG can replace coal as a major energy source.
“I want to specifically applaud my friend John, Premier Horgan, for committing to ensure that the development of LNG in B.C. is consistent with our national climate plan and the province’s own climate goals,” said Trudeau.
WATCH: Massive LNG project gets green light
“Today’s investment by LNG Canada represents the single largest private sector investment in the history of Canada. It shows what is possible when you collaborate and consult with Indigenous and local communities and when you coordinate with all levels of government.”
“The advantage for Canada is that climate change knows no borders. As we reduce and replace coal-fired plants around the world with LNG done properly, done responsibly in British Columbia that is good news for all of us.”
WATCH FB LIVE RECAP: Premier John Horgan answers questions about LNG announcement in B.C.
The BC Liberals are also calling this “a great day for British Columbians.”
An LNG industry in British Columbia was a massive promise from former B.C. premier Christy Clark leading into the 2013 provincial election.
WATCH: ‘Today is the best day of my entire professional life:’ Christy Clark on LNG Canada deal
Speaking today, Clark said she was ecstatic when she saw the official final investment decision.
“Today is the best day of my entire professional life. I woke up this morning to see if the announcement was going to be finalized, I just can’t think of anything I have done professionally that has made me more satisfied,” Clark said.
In March, the B.C. government announced it was redoing the fiscal framework for the liquefied natural gas industry in an attempt to secure a final investment decision from LNG Canada.
WATCH HERE: LNG Canada confirms investment decision to build export facility
The province still needs to pass legislation that would provide a PST exemption on construction costs of an LNG facility.
The government has projected that would be a $6-billion rebate for LNG Canada, compared to the framework designed by the previous provincial government.
WATCH HERE: Trudeau says LNG facility ‘largest private sector’ investment in Canada’s history
“The best thing that they did is that they (B.C. NDP) didn’t try to stop it,” Clark said. “Because they worst day for me was waking up the morning after the government changed and my first thought was I worked six-and-a-half years on this LNG thing and it wasn’t going to happen.”
One of the major factors for the decision from LNG Canada was the improved benefits from the government. Along with tax benefits, the government will also be providing electricity at a discounted rate once the Site C dam is constructed.
WATCH: Horgan on LNG announcement
“In B.C. projects can be done if they are done in the right way when it comes to resource developments when we build the relationship before we build the project,” said LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz. “B.C. and Canada can attract foreign investment. B.C. and Canada can deliver competitive energy projects.”
“It takes a village to build a mega-project and today that village is Canada and we celebrate the success together.”
One person not celebrating today is Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.
Weaver says his caucus is not going to be supporting any government legislation connected to the LNG industry. That alone will likely not have any impact on the power-sharing agreement between the Greens and the NDP.
WATCH: One-on-one with Finance Minister Bill Morneau
The Green party’s biggest concern is the province is looking for a short-term gain from LNG while causing long-term damage to the environment. Weaver also thinks the electricity rebate for LNG Canada is unfair.
“The rate payer is going to actually have their rates go up to have electricity delivered to the LNG sector,” said Weaver. “We as a caucus are united, we will not support any legislation the NDP will bring forward to this House in support of this project announced today.”
WATCH HERE: ‘The time is now’: First Nations applauds LNG Canada over facility process
Tuesday’s official announcement also included Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth. Smith said the LNG Canada project will be historic for her community.
“History is unfolding before our eyes,” Smith said. “We are having a share and we are having our say. We are a part of change. A part of history.”
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