Premier Christy Clark recently wrapped up her fifth international trade mission in Asia where she has been unfailing in her promotion of what’s predicted to be an almost $300 billion dollar industry should B.C. position itself correctly and on time on the international stage.
Two international LNG conferences have taken place in Vancouver so far this year with a third planned for October, and, according to a May 23rd government press release, British Columbia is poised to be a player in the global LNG market with 13 LNG proposals currently on the table. The release goes on to state that development of the industry will result in unprecedented economic growth and has the potential to create more than 100,000 jobs. A few hurdles on the horizon are complicating the BC Liberals’ ambitions, such as the $400 (US) billion natural gas deal between China and Russia announced last week that is now causing one of B.C.’s LNG suitors — Malaysia’s state-owned energy company, Petronas, that signed a letter of intent earlier this month with Clark — to suddenly demand a more “reasonable” tax rate or its pulling its plans for a B.C.-based LNG export terminal. Add inadequate skilled labour and First Nations’ opposition to the threat of cut-throat global competition — not to mention B.C.’s powerful environmental advocacy groups that will never come to terms with the toxic fracking wastewater that’s the necessary product of LNG extraction — and a booming B.C. LNG industry starts to look more like a pipe dream than a reality.
A strategy of sustainable development that takes into account the province’s current greenhouse gas reduction policy could create the buy-in needed to make this industry work, but the first priority would be to determine what the landbase can handle. And according to a 2013 Forest Practices Board warning, the cumulative impacts of increasing resource development in B.C. remain unknown — and unmanaged. An about-face in natural resource management is needed, pronto.