BC, Nisga’a Nation sign LNG benefit agreement
The Nisga’a Nation signed an agreement that will guarantee the Nation benefits from development of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline project on Nisga’a Lands and in the Nass area.
The pipeline benefit agreement is part of a comprehensive approach to partnering with First Nations on LNG opportunities, including developing skills training and environmental stewardship projects.
Benefits agreements are the path to partnership with First Nations, and this is the first such agreement signed by the B.C. Province and a First Nation for the proposed TransCanada pipeline that would service the Pacific NorthWest LNG project near Prince Rupert.
The Nisga’a Nation will receive approximately $6 million from the Province at various stages in the project: $1 million upon signing the agreement, $2.5 million when pipeline construction begins, and $2.5 million when gas starts to flow.
The Nisga’a Nation will also receive a yet-to-be-determined share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits that will be available to First Nations along the PRGT pipeline. The Province expects to be signing similar agreements with other First Nations along proposed natural gas pipeline routes in the near future.
Provincial benefit-sharing offers First Nations additional tools to partner in economic development, complements industry impact benefit agreements that provide jobs and business opportunities, and is a way for government and First Nations to partner and provide industry with the certainty needed to make final investment decisions.
First Nations are also negotiating their own impact benefit agreements with pipeline proponents. On Nov. 6, 2014, the Nisga’a announced an impact benefit agreement with TransCanada for the PRGT project.
The two governments are creating a strong framework for Nisga’a participation in the LNG sector and to ensure B.C. is in a strong position to compete in the new global market place. The Nisga’a and B.C. governments have both introduced legislation to enable the Nisga’a Lisims Government to levy and collect property tax from non-Nisga’a citizens and companies with industrial installations, such as LNG pipelines on Nisga’a Lands.
The Ministry of Environment has also introduced the Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act. The act would remove 63.5 hectares from Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park for PRGT development and take effect once all regulatory approvals are received and the Nisga’a Final Agreement is amended. The route selected avoids specific cultural sites and has the support of the Nisga’a Lisims Government.
Press Release; Image: gov.bc.ca