Fort St. John, once the hub of British Columbia’s natural gas sector, now has its life at stake. With the ceaseless battle going between the local community, the federal government and environmental activists, thousands of unemployed workers are fighting for a mere subsistence. Even after months of discussions and demonstrations, the LNG Project is still waiting for an environmental certificate.
After the collapse in gas prices and cutbacks in the workforce, Liquefied Natural Gas projects are the only ray of hope for the people of Fort St. John. From social media feeds to truck rallies, the community is selflessly supporting the project. While on the other hand, prominent environmentalists have given a red flag to the Pacific Northwest LNG Project. Experts believe that the project would escalate the GHG (Green House Gasses) Emissions and would challenge Canada’s international climate change obligations.From Premier Christy Clark to local political parties, everyone is coming out in support of the LNG Project. The supporters claim that they are not overlooking the environmental concerns that the country is fighting with, they just want the federal government to put an end to the rising jobless figures and come to a win-win situation for the betterment of the society.
The people who are not in the favor of the LNG project should understand that turning down the project would not only be a major hit to the economy but the society as well. With no jobs and mounting family responsibilities, the once booming gas fields of B.C. will turn into a land of desolation. In one of the rallies, the premier said, “Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel on the planet’ which is true, then why are we not looking at the pros and hanging over a few cons?
Joe Bevan, Kitselas First Nation Chief Councillor rightly said, “As long as proponents maintain strong environmental standards, we support LNG because it brings jobs and growth to our nation”. The need of the hour is to address the issue with a practical and not an authoritarian approach. The Pacific Northwest LNG Project is itself going to generate 4500 jobs in the Northeast B.C. region. If one simple large project can open the door to so many employment opportunities, giving a green signal to all the LNG projects (adhering to the environmental norms) can make the city flourish again.
With all the communities standing up for the LNG Plant Projects, we at Major Welding Ltd. also support the cause. We stand up for the people who are battling every day to manage their families and for those who migrated to the city in the hope of a better life. We believe that oil and gas industry is the primary source of income for the people of Fort St. John; rather than just ruling out the LNG projects, the Environmental Ministry of Canada should re-look into the matter and come up with a sustainable mechanism for regulating these projects.