Nathan Cullen who has been a Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley for the last 12 years, says that he has come to appreciate two important things about how to help create good jobs in the region.
“Firstly, it’s about bringing local communities into a project from day 1. This is absolutely critical to achieve the best technical design and obtain the broadest public support. Fifty years ago, this wasn’t much of an issue. Now, it is essential,” Cullen said.
“Secondly, we must at all costs avoid pitting the natural environment that has sustained us for millennia against potential jobs. It’s a mug’s game to sacrifice one in the promise of another and hope that in the end, we’ll come out ahead.
Recently, residents and contractors took to the streets in Terrace to voice their support for LNG projects broadly and with an immediate focus on the Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island.
According to Cullen, from the very start, many in the region wondered why Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned energy company and the federal and provincial governments chose Lelu, a site that is much more expensive to build on and much more damaging to wild salmon habitat and the entire Skeena River system.
Cullen also says that 130 scientists have recently penned an open letter to Minister McKenna refuting the weak and cynically narrow science the company financed and the federal government accepted without question.
These experts appealed to the minister to reject the “flawed” environmental draft report for the proposed $36 billion project, identifying five primary scientific shortcomings, including disregarding research not funded by Petronas.
Like many people in the Northwest, Cullen says he supports smart industrial development that meets the standards of rigorous science and has Frist Nations and community backing.
“I supported the Alta Gas LNG proposal in Kitimat that was unfortunately halted las month due to poor global economic conditions and energy prices. I also support LNG projects proposed by Royal Dutch Shell and Haisla new Kitimat. These projects have gained support of local communities and do not pose a threat to wild salmon. And I have publicly offered to help avoid further conflict and court battles for the Petronas project through add expedited process on a new and safer site, possibly Ridley Island.”
Cullen remains dedicated to promoting responsible growth in the Northwest.
“Our tradition is to work together here in the Northwest. We work within the natural limits of this beautiful land that sustains us as we carefully construct a diversified economy that will sustain many future generations. I truly believe that smart and carefully selected LNG projects can create thousands of solid, family-sustaining jobs in our built-in-the-Northwest economy. Along with thousands of Northwesterners, I welcome proponents interested in developing a modest LNG economy here that plays by our rules.”