First Nations and environmental groups respond to the U.S. government’s pause on LNG approvals
January 26, 2024
Today, the U.S. government, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG), announced a pause on new LNG export approvals, citing climate and domestic cost-of-living concerns. In response, First Nations and environmental groups applauded the U.S. government’s decision and asked the B.C. and Canada governments to follow suit and halt new LNG export projects. They cautioned that continuing to build new terminals would derail the province’s climate plan and impose higher costs on households for both electricity and gas.
LNG Canada Phase 1 in Kitimat will soon be the largest source of emissions in the province, with five additional LNG projects on the books. All combined, these projects would emit 30.3 MtCO2e, according to the Pembina Institute, not counting methane leaks throughout the supply chain, or emissions overseas when the gas is burned. Meanwhile, demand growth is slowing in key markets in Asia, the supposed destination for B.C.’s LNG. The result will be lower prices that make it difficult for Canadian LNG to compete.
As controversy grows over oil and gas industry expansion, police have ramped up enforcement of injunctions in B.C., with serious consequences for Indigenous rights and civil liberties. Pivoting to renewable energy would be far less divisive, according to public opinion polls in B.C.
“The continued support and growth in the so-called ‘green energy’ LNG industry contributes to the environmental and climate devastation raging in this province and around the world, particularly by Indigenous communities – the highly destructive climate crisis does not stop at borders. UBCIC applauds President Biden for taking the first step in suspending approval of new LNG exports and calls on Prime Minister Trudeau to do the same,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President.
“As LNG exports have increased in the U.S., so have residential gas bills. The same thing happened in Australia when it became a major LNG exporter. Pausing LNG exports is a concrete way to stop the cost of living crisis from getting worse. It would also avoid BC Hydro ratepayers having to pay for more infrastructure for the industry,” said Dogwood’s Kai Nagata.
“Scientists are clearly calling for an immediate end to new fossil fuel infrastructure, and a rapid phase-out of existing fossil fuel infrastructure. B.C. needs to press pause on all new LNG export projects or taxpayers risk being left on the hook when these fossil fuel projects inevitably go belly up. If it isn’t built yet, don’t build it,” said Tracey Saxby, marine scientist and executive director of My Sea to Sky.
“President Biden’s decision to suspend the approval of LNG export terminals due to growing concerns about affordability and the climate should be a wakeup call for Premier Eby and the B.C. Government,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “If the LNG terminals that are proposed were to be built in B.C., we will not meet our climate targets and Premier Eby knows that.”
“Like the U.S., we must move away from building new fossil fuel projects in B.C. that pollute the land, water and air, harm our health, destabilize the climate and increase the cost of living—and instead focus on fast-tracking renewable energy and jobs. Ending the expansion of LNG in B.C. is good for people and the planet,” said Dr. Melissa Lem, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).
“Premier Eby’s choice is clear: does he align with President Biden or Donald Trump? On one side we have the interests of everyday consumers and everybody affected by the climate crisis. On the other side we have oil and gas lobbyists. He needs to make the progressive choice,” said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney.
“Shipping LNG to Asia is worse for the climate than just burning coal. That’s because of methane leaks all the way through the supply chain, including from bunkering at ports and the use as a marine fuel. Methane is dangerously effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere, 80 times that of CO2. Saying no to LNG can put Canada on course to achieving its Global Methane Pledge commitments and recently revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) shipping GHG targets,” said Andrew Dumbrille, Say No To LNG global shipping campaign.