By Frank Peebles, Prince George Citizen

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver vowed that the NDP will fall if it continues to pursue the development of the province’s LNG industry.

Meanwhile, advocates of the liquefied natural gas industry took the stage Thursday at the final day of B.C. Natural Resources Forum to show unified support for its continued development.

The four initiating leaders were Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead, Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, and Haisla councillor Kevin Stewart.

Ackerman spoke first, thanking the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation for the opportunity to meet on their traditional territory, then called on those in the room to join them on stage, regardless of industry or background.

As the seats emptied and the stage filled, Ackerman explained that the natural gas industry in B.C. — most of it in the northeast — had been underway for the past 70 years and was on the cusp of a new chapter with the advent of liquefying the gas for global transport to much needed new markets.

"Building on our record of responsible development, B.C. will produce the greenest LNG in the world," she said.

"This new industry will bring new investment, create new jobs, business and training opportunities, and will bring new revenue to B.C. that will help support our social services, including hospitals, schools, transportation, and public safety.

"These are not just benefits for Northern B.C. but benefits experienced throughout the province and all of Canada. This is also an unprecedented opportunity for First Nations to take part in the creation of a new resource industry and see the benefits directly in their communities."

The environmental benefits of LNG don't stop at the customer's end, Bumstead added. They're also seen at the producer's end, and that was all-local. He cited three natural gas facilities that had been built in the northeast in the past two years, all of which were constructed with electrical co-generation capabilities.

"Those facilities, by hooking up to BC Hydro's electrical power grid, each one of them is the equivalent of taking 182,000 vehicles off the road," Bumstead said.

"That's how clean we are at producing the gas for liquifying and shipping. It's a world-class asset that we have. The opportunity is there for us to make a difference in the world."

The Haisla Nation supports both Royal Dutch Shell plc's LNG Canada project and Chevron Corporation's Kitimat LNG.

"Chevron Canada and LNG Canada show us the right way business is done with First Nations," Stewart said.  "They have been very respectful in negotiations with our council and our negotiators and we have a very good working relationship with them. We very much want these projects to make a final investment decision."

The only hurdles remaining, it was explained, were bureaucratic ones. Governments were the last remaining hurdles to the LNG dreams being realized.

"We have been in poverty for years, and our goal is to get out of poverty and create a lot of hope for our people, the benefits [every community] in B.C. wants for their people," said Stewart.

Green leader threatens to vote down government

The stage was set a day after BC Green party leader Andrew Weaver said LNG was his "line in the sand" and threatened to vote down the NDP government if it continued the BC Liberals’ attempt to develop the industry. NDP Premier John Horgan, who made an appearance at the forum in Prince George, is off to Asia this weekend as part of a wide-ranging trade mission that includes meetings with international investors part of the LNG Canada consortium.

"Lest there be any doubt, let me be perfectly clear: NDP government will fall in non confidence if after all that has happened it continues to pursue LNG folly," Weaver wrote on Twitter.

"The reason why we agreed to the CASA agreement with the NDP is their supposed commitment to GHG reduction. A push for LNG means they are not serious. We are willing to let B.C. voters have their say. We would have been deceived."

Horgan will visit Japan, Korea, and China on his mission, and he plans to meet with LNG Canada partners Korea Gas Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and PetroChina.

"I intend to meet with those three companies and talk to them about their continued interest in a final investment decision on LNG Canada," Horgan told the Alaska Highway Newsin an interview in December.

"We want to make sure that we can get our natural resources to higher-priced markets. The advent of hydraulic fracturing has meant North America is awash in gas and that’s driving the price down, making it difficult for producers in the Peace to succeed."

LNG Canada could announce a final investment decision in the second half of this year.

-With files from DOB, AHN