Map of the Ksi Lisim project. Courtesy Ksi Lisim LNG web page

PRINCE RUPERT,  —  What happens when one First Nation wants to proceed with a major, transformational natural gas project, but their neighbouring First Nation does not?

Not all is well with a proposed First Nation-backed liquified natural gas project on the northern edge of the British Columbia coastline. The Ksi Lisims LNG project has the backing of the Nisga’a Lisims First Nation, but not another First Nation, with competing claims to the region.

The site in question is so close to Alaska, you can literally see Alaska by looking to the northwest.

Mayor Garry Reece on behalf of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation issued a public statement on Nov. 17 regarding the Ksi Lisims LNG project, a proposed initiative on Pearse Island within Lax Kw’alaams’ traditional territory.

 

Mayor Garry Reece wished to emphasize that the neither the Lax Kw’alaams Council nor the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams have approved or consented to the project, and therefore it cannot proceed on Lax Kw’alaams’ traditional territory.

Following a public information event led by the Nisga’a Nation on November 8, 2023, and the examination of notes prepared for the update on the project, Lax Kw’alaams said they remain steadfast in their opposition to the project proceeding within their traditional territory. “We wish to reiterate our position that all projects within our traditional territory require our explicit consent before advancing, and as of this date, we have not granted consent to the Nisga’a Nation, Rockies LNG Partners nor Western LNG for the Project to proceed.”

“Our commitment to preserving the cultural and environmental integrity of our traditional territory is unwavering. We hold the belief that any development or initiative within our traditional territory must align with our values and respect our heritage. We emphasize the importance of collaborative decision-making and meaningful engagement in matters that impact our community.

“We appreciate the public’s understanding and support as we navigate this issue and strive to protect the interests and values of the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams.”

According to the project webpage, “Ksi Lisims LNG, pronounced as s’lisims, means “from the Nass River” in the Nisga’a language, is a proposed 12-million-tonne-per-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at Wil Milit, north of Prince Rupert, BC near the Nisga’a village of Gingolx.

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“Ksi Lisims LNG’s governance structure provides each project proponent – the Nisga’a Nation, Rockies LNG and Western LNG – with meaningful input into project development, management and operations, ensuring it is designed and operated in a manner consistent with the Nisga’a Nation’s commitment to stewardship of the land and its people.”

The project webpage notes, “Ksi Lisims LNG will generate significant social and economic benefits, including public revenues, jobs, training and businesses opportunities for Indigenous Nations and other communities in the region.”

On the left is Golden Pass LNG. On the right is Sabine Pass. Sabine Pass, alone, already has six process trains operational. Canada has none. Google Earth

It adds, “Ksi Lisims LNG is in the early planning stages with environmental assessment work, Indigenous and community engagement, and preliminary engineering currently underway. With regulatory approvals and final investment decisions by the project partners, construction could begin in 2024 with the site operational in late 2027 or 2028.”

As this continued contention regarding the development of West Coast liquefied natural gas goes on, Canada is missing out on a major opportunity. The Panama Canal is currently experiencing its worst drought in 73 years, and shipping in the canal has been reduced from 36 ships a day to 24, and will be further reduced to 18 by Feb. 1. That will put a major restraint on LNG cargoes from the half dozen already operational LNG facilities the U.S. has on its Gulf Coast, meaning that ships departing Texas or Louisiana LNG export terminals will have to travel three-quarters around the world to East Asia if they are not able to use the Panama Canal, at least roughly 27,100 kilometres via the Suez Canal to Tokyo. The distance from Ksi Lisims to Tokyo is just 7,000 kilometres, and 7,200 kilometres from LNG Canada at Kitimat. But since no LNG projects have been competed on the BC coast to date, Canada will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

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