British Columbia and the Nisga’a Lisims government have celebrated the passage of two key pieces of legislation and two economic benefit agreements that will help the Nisga’a Nation become a major participant in B.C.’s LNG export economy.
The B.C. legislature passed the Nisga’a Final Agreement Amendment Act on 27 November, which establishes the Nisga’a Lisims government as the property taxation authority over 2000 km2 of Nisga’a Lands.
The legislation enables the Nisga’a Nation to levy and collect property tax from persons other than Nisga’a citizens, including companies that operate LNG pipelines and infrastructure. It gives effect to the Real Property Tax Co-ordination Agreement between the Nisga’a Nation and British Columbia, the provisions of which are available only to modern treaty First Nations.
The B.C. legislature also passed the Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act. The legislation is the first step in a process to remove 63.5 hectares from Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, a provincial park jointly managed by the Province and the Nisga’a Nation under the Nisga’a Treaty. The land to be removed from the park is to facilitate a right-of-way corridor for Prince Rupert Gas Transmission’s (PRGT) proposed 900 km pipeline project.
Seeking LNG investors
In October, the Nisga’a Nation concluded a Benefits Agreement with Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Ltd., which provides for substantial financial and other benefits to the Nisga’a Nation, including an option to transport a fixed amount of natural gas through the PRGT pipeline. The Nisga'a Nation is actively seeking investors to use this option to locate an LNG liquefaction facility on Nisga'a Lands.
Recently, the Nisga’a Nation and the Province entered into a Benefits Agreement for significant financial benefits in relation to the proposed PRGT pipeline.
Both agreements provide substantial benefits and business opportunities to the Nisga’a Nation and certainty for the proponent within Nisga’a Lands and the Nass Valley.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
“These pieces of legislation and economic benefit agreements demonstrate the bold and innovative leadership that the Nisga'a people are showing in terms of embracing opportunities and finding balance between cultural and environmental values, while pursuing the creation of an economy.”
Mitchell Stevens, President of the Nisga’a Lisims government
“The Nisga’a Nation negotiated these agreements as a self-governing Nation having ownership of and legislative jurisdiction over our lands and responsibility for providing economic opportunities for our people. Our Treaty has paved the way for these agreements and the potential for achieving sustainable prosperity for our people. Today, we move forward as partners with the Province and industry in B.C.’s LNG economy, and as a Nation well positioned to benefit from employment, economic growth and investment emerging from LNG development in northern B.C.”
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment
“The passage of this legislation would not have been possible without the leadership of the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG). As stewards of the land, the NLG has partnered with the Province of B.C. to ensure sustainable and responsible economic development that respects their traditional values.”
Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance
“This benefit agreement and legislation support the LNG goals of both the Nisga’a Nation and the province. Together, these negotiated accomplishments demonstrate the collaborative government-to-government relationship that serves economic development and provides new opportunities both for the Nisga’a people and the province of B.C.”
Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development
“We’re growing our natural gas sector to create future economic opportunities for all British Columbians. This legislation ensures the Nisga’a Nation can prosper from development moving forward as we position our province as a leader in natural gas production and supply.”
Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward
Read the article online at: https://www.lngindustry.com/liquid-natural-gas/28112014/nisgaa-nation-celebrates-lng-legislation-1879/