All three parties issue joint statement to allow project to be sent to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission for review
Three parties representing the Municipality of Wet’suwet’en, the District of Invermere and the City of Vanderhoof have issued a joint statement to support the issuing of a decision to the BC Oil and Gas Commission to study Coastal GasLink’s project.
The statement supports Coastal GasLink’s commitment to ensuring a safe and responsible environment for the development and transport of natural gas in the Coastal GasLink Project area and that a negotiated agreement with hereditary chiefs is reached.
“We look forward to the final decision of the BC Oil and Gas Commission to hold a full, independent review of the Coastal GasLink Project,” said Tom Kempton, Boundary-Similkameen MLA and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “We are very pleased with the strong support of all three of the municipalities and we expect it to further impact support for Coastal GasLink.”
The four councils all oppose the Coastal GasLink Project, but had different positions over how they would proceed if the proposed pipeline across the Wet’suwet’en territories.
In June, the BC Liberal government passed an order-in-council to approve the Coastal GasLink Project.
A vote to continue in favour of the project was defeated by 53 per cent to 44 per cent at the Wet’suwet’en village council meeting on July 10.
The BC NDP said it plans to hold a no confidence vote over the order-in-council on September 20.
Residents in Invermere and Vanderhoof also gathered their signatures to direct the project to the BC Oil and Gas Commission to review its environmental impacts.
Invermere mayor Cathy Opchak said: “We have fully identified the many significant issues and opportunities related to the Coastal GasLink Project. This has been my personal passion, my conviction and the basis for my (November 2017) complaint to the B.C. Utilities Commission and now the provincial government. We don’t know what will happen with that B.C. Utilities Commission investigation, but we support the Natural Gas Act in the Tzar Fynbryck Court. We support that the proponent, Coastal GasLink, and the proponents’ proponent consortium, should be an independent third party.”
In Vanderhoof, city councillor Kevin Brinton said: “I believe Coastal GasLink has an obligation under the Natural Gas Act to get an independent review. This would allow the province to engage in some negotiation for the hereditary chiefs to work out an agreement that would benefit Wet’suwet’en people, as a community, as one group and not as several individual groups who are looking to benefit individually.”
The joint statement is posted on the B.C. Government and General Services website, gov.bc.ca/city. B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson is responsible for the review process and as such has been unavailable for interviews, media release and offer to represent the statement during any media queries.