Accept Petronas- Get Land


#1

thenorthernview.com/news/301982231.html
No matter who rightfully should have that land it seems very wrong that it is being offered to subsidize Petronas as a tradeoff for risking Skeena salmon.


The $11.4-billion question for Petronas
#2

Calling the land portion of the proposed term sheet an offer to ‘subsidize’ Petronas is a mischaracterization.

Under the New Relationship the province has cut many deals with first nations to ensure that they benefit from resource development, in the forestry, mining and energy sectors, especially after it became clear that the BC Treaty Process has been costing a fortune but has delivered few results.

If you go to this page and click on the types of agreements listed on the left, or on the alphabetical listing, you will see what I mean.
< www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id … BE320497#l >. There have literally been hundreds of consultation and benefits agreements of one kind or another.

I highly doubt, by the way, that any of that would change if the NDP was in power; those agreements have encouraged economic development.

Lax Kwalaams really seems to be raising the bar not only for first nations but for other communities that may be impacted by major developments.

Port Edward council also seems to be more effective than their counterparts in Rupert at dealing with LNG issues to ensure that their community benefits. Perhaps there will be a change in approach after Mayor Brain releases his ‘Go Plan’.


#3

As Travenn has pointed out, companies and governments have made numerous economic agreements with Bands. Bands and band members are beginning to establish themselves as key members of the Canadian economy. They are beginning to change the economy and it is a very good thing as right now the lost of productivity to our economy is immense.

For better or worst, there will always be trade-offs between economic growth and maintaining the status quo. To me this offer seems like it is an excellent opportunity for Band members to obtain new skills and well-paying jobs. You can have all the good intentions and social policy in the world but the evidence is pretty clear: decent well - paying jobs are integral to making permanent positive community social change.

I doubt very much that a better opportunity will present itself within the lifetimes of the present generations of Band members. If the Band membership does not accept this agreement, then I think it will be fair to say that they will be the author of their own future misfortunes.


#4

The $1 billion dollars is over 40 years, the payout, the yearly payout starts at $12 million per year, set to rise to $50 million per years after 25 years…

There are 3600 current members of this particular First Nation band…That works out to less than $4K per member per year, are we to believe Petronas will honour the terms of the deal in 25 years hence?..What am I talking about, $700 million dollars of that promise is not to flow to that First Nation until AFTER YEAR 25…!!!

Will Petronas honour any contract that far out?..It is a big question, considering Petronas is hurting financially right now, …Not reported by our Canadian media, Petronas has asked contractors, suppliers and their own employees to take a 20% pay cut…

Petronas as of late is broke, Petronas has had to go to the bond market to raise working capital money…

theglobeandmail.com/report-o … e24203113/

powellriverpersuader.blogspot.ca … l?spref=fb


#5

[quote=“Astro”]The $1 billion dollars is over 40 years, the payout, the yearly payout starts at $12 million per year, set to rise to $50 million per years after 25 years…

There are 3600 current members of this particular First Nation band…That works out to less than $4K per member per year, are we to believe Petronas will honour the terms of the deal in 25 years hence?..What am I talking about, $700 million dollars of that promise is not to flow to that First Nation until AFTER YEAR 25…!!!

Will Petronas honour any contract that far out?..It is a big question, considering Petronas is hurting financially right now, …Not reported by our Canadian media, Petronas has asked contractors, suppliers and their own employees to take a 20% pay cut…

Petronas as of late is broke, Petronas has had to go to the bond market to raise working capital money…

theglobeandmail.com/report-o … e24203113/[/quote]

I guess it’s possible that the state of Malaysia, which owns Petronas and depends on it for a large part of its revenues, could go broke sometime in the future so that Petronas defaults on its obligations, but that does not seem very plausible.

The statement about Petronas being ‘broke’ just because they have had their first bond offering in five years (which takes advantage of low interest rates) is also exaggerated. The G&M article about the Lax Kw’alaams - BC - Petronas deal is interesting, but says nothing about Petronas’s finances or business fundamentals.

Here’s a link to a Financial Times article that talks about how Petronas is weathering the drop in oil prices, including some details about its bond offering: < ft.com/cms/s/0/6560b4bc-c86a … z3Z08NLKF8 >.

I see that Exxon has also had a bond offering. Should the City consequently shelve plans of selling Lot 444 because selling bonds is supposedly a sure sign a company is going broke? Investors buy bonds because they fully expect that the money will be repaid. They’re generally a more secure investment than stocks.


#6

Its a subsidy to Petronas. An IBM report valued the Skeena salmon at $100 million annually. We know Lax Kw’alaams members got a lot of that. The PNW project puts that at serious risk and LK could sue to stop the project and protect the salmon. So in comes the province giving almost all the valuable real estate in the area to LK only if they approve the project.
Malaysia didn’t have to buy the land being used as a tradeoff for environmental damage which science predicts if PNW LNG goes ahead.


#7

[quote=“atsea”]Its a subsidy to Petronas. An IBM report valued the Skeena salmon at $100 million annually. We know Lax Kw’alaams members got a lot of that. The PNW project puts that at serious risk and LK could sue to stop the project and protect the salmon. So in comes the province giving almost all the valuable real estate in the area to LK only if they approve the project.
Malaysia didn’t have to buy the land being used as a tradeoff for environmental damage which science predicts if PNW LNG goes ahead.[/quote]

Do you have any studies to cite supporting your contention that the project would put Skeena salmon seriously at risk, particularly after the project design was changed to avoid the Flora Banks? There is information about those issues on Lax Kw’alaams’ web site. It’s clear that the band has been working on those issues in a proactive manner, including by twice stopping the regulatory process and making submissions:

laxkwalaams.ca/wp-content/upload … -Final.pdf

As for Lax Kw’alaams being able to sue to stop the project and protect salmon, that is highly doubtful if CEAA issues an approval premised on design changes and based on scientific studies, including what Lax Kw’alaams has submitted.

Lax Kw’alaams has been very active as an intervenor in the CEAA process, and it does not appear to have been an easy process. What I wonder - and it’s an honest question - is have those who predict destruction of the Skeena fishery been similarly active as intervenors and where are the scientific reports to support their contentions?

Or are these just like statements periodically made at City council meetings? Some council members have expressed concerns about the Petronas project, but is the City an intervenor, and if so where are their scientific studies to support predictions about destruction?

As for the land, it is in various places, including on either side of Butze Rapids. I would not be surprised if the intention is a future crossing for a connector road to Lax Kw’alaams. Related to that, I see that the province will also be putting money into upgrading the existing road to Tuck Inlet.

laxkwalaams.ca/wp-content/upload … -Final.pdf

The band would also gain title to land in the vicinity of Port Simpson Harbour, and at the south end of Digby, which has been discussed as a possible site for an LNG plant. The Province and Lax Kw’alaams appear to be providing for greater certainty for other LNG proposals, so that they will not be opposed or tied up in litigation. What has any of that got to do with Petronas?


#8

The study which convinced me PNW’s new design is no good is Dr. Mclaren’s A SEDIMENT TREND ANALYSIS (STA®) OF PRINCE RUPERT HARBOUR AND ITS SURROUNDING WATERS Dec 2014. It is based on a year of work taking hundreds of sediment samples then analyzing their size make-up to determine how they were distributed and what the dynamics are in the harbour area.
It disagreed with PNW’s models which said their was no risk and it had evidence to support its findings. I know of three litigation cases where STA and models disagreed and the courts found the STA to be more credible.
Do you really think anyone would be fighting PNW if there wasn’t serious reason? I personally wouldn’t give a hoot about PNW if they had chosen another site.
Eelgrass is rare and critical. Since the 70’s Flora Bank has been listed as key to Skeena Salmon. McLaren’s study showed that eelgrass only existed on sandy sediment with less than 20% fine mud. PNW wants to put in four hundred or so piles just to the NW of Flora Bank. You don’t think this might change the dynamics enough to add another 10% mud and wipe out the eegrass? Dr. McLaren also thinks the bank may be held in place by NW storms washing sand back up onto it each year. That likely won’t happen if you put in those pilings and berth.


#9

“What does the land offer have to do with the PNW?” You have to look at the bulletin.The land is being offered if they accept the project. Look at page 3 here is a link laxkwalaams.ca/wp-content/upload … -Final.pdf
Everyone take a look at the land offered-- this is really going to affect land prices in Rupert. And the crazy part is that LK probably already has rights to this land if all was said and done, so they may be getting bribed with their own land.


#10

[quote=“atsea”]The study which convinced me PNW’s new design is no good is Dr. Mclaren’s A SEDIMENT TREND ANALYSIS (STA®) OF PRINCE RUPERT HARBOUR AND ITS SURROUNDING WATERS Dec 2014. It is based on a year of work taking hundreds of sediment samples then analyzing their size make-up to determine how they were distributed and what the dynamics are in the harbour area.
It disagreed with PNW’s models which said their was no risk and it had evidence to support its findings. I know of three litigation cases where STA and models disagreed and the courts found the STA to be more credible.
Do you really think anyone would be fighting PNW if there wasn’t serious reason? I personally wouldn’t give a hoot about PNW if they had chosen another site.
Eelgrass is rare and critical. Since the 70’s Flora Bank has been listed as key to Skeena Salmon. McLaren’s study showed that eelgrass only existed on sandy sediment with less than 20% fine mud. PNW wants to put in four hundred or so piles just to the NW of Flora Bank. You don’t think this might change the dynamics enough to add another 10% mud and wipe out the eegrass? Dr. McLaren also thinks the bank may be held in place by NW storms washing sand back up onto it each year. That likely won’t happen if you put in those pilings and berth.[/quote]

Those are scientific issues for the CEAA panel to sort out and decide accordingly, including by considering Dr McLaren’s report, assuming that it has been filed as evidence. If the panel concludes that the revised project design is no good, the project will not proceed, or onerous conditions will be set that make its viability doubtful. The panel is not bound by an agreement between Petronas, Lax Kw’alaams and BC. They are not a party and they exercise their own jurisdiction.

As for ‘fighting PNW’, who is fighting Petronas through the CEAA process by registering as intervenors and filing evidence? Or are these just comments from the sidelines? To their credit Lax Kw’alaams has engaged in the process and submitted evidence that appears to have resulted in changes in the design.

[quote=“atsea”]“What does the land offer have to do with the PNW?” You have to look at the bulletin.The land is being offered if they accept the project. Look at page 3 here is a link laxkwalaams.ca/wp-content/upload … -Final.pdf
Everyone take a look at the land offered-- this is really going to affect land prices in Rupert. And the crazy part is that LK probably already has rights to this land if all was said and done, so they may be getting bribed with their own land.[/quote]

A package deal is not a subsidy to Petronas. There are benefits on the table that are unrelated to Petronas, including locations for future LNG plants, at Grassy Point and on Digby, that if anything would be competing with Petronas in LNG markets. I see Lax Kw’alaams and the Province addressing a number of issues together rather than piecemeal. It is more plausible that the Province made an agreement with Petronas a condition of the overall deal, rather than that Petronas has made acceptance of Provincial benefits a condition in order to reduce the cost of their part of the deal.

As for the ‘crazy part’ being that Lax Kw’alaams already has rights to the land, and being ‘bribed’ with their own land, they probably do have aboriginal rights, but the courts have said that does not give a veto over development; only an entitlement to ‘accommodation’, whatever that might mean.

Lax Kw’alaams could try to make an argument for aboriginal title under the William decision to the various lands the Province is offering, but that would be very difficult (Roger William’s band did not establish title to their entire territory) and the issue would be tied up in court for years.

Faced with all of those uncertainties, the parties are considering an option that if accepted would provide for certainty, assuming that CEAA approves the project after considering the scientific evidence. Hopefully those who are ‘fighting PNW’ have registered as intervenors and submitted their scientific reports so that they will be considered by the panel.


#11

So you think if the BC government gave the crown land to Petronas to give to Lax Kw’alaams in return for supporting the project it would be a subsidy. But if the BC government gives it straight to Lax Kw’alaams with a proviso that LK has to support Petronas then it isn’t a subsidy.
I don’t see any real difference.


#12

[quote=“atsea”]So you think if the BC government gave the crown land to Petronas to give to Lax Kw’alaams in return for supporting the project it would be a subsidy. But if the BC government gives it straight to Lax Kw’alaams with a proviso that LK has to support Petronas then it isn’t a subsidy.
I don’t see any real difference.[/quote]

Those two scenarios are completely and irreconcilably different. Although the first scenario is entirely hypothetical it illustrates the point.

The Crown has a duty to consult and to accommodate infringements of asserted aboriginal rights resulting from economic development. That duty is not delegable (see the SCC decision in ‘Haida 2’). Only the Crown has a duty to accommodate in a fair and reasonable manner and in good faith. In the arcane language of the courts ‘the honour of the Crown’ requires that. This government has been very effective at negotiating agreements with first nations. There can be agreed consultation and dispute resolution processes, and shares of Crown revenues and business opportunities, eg forest tenures, as accommodations.

Meanwhile, the private sector is increasingly entering into ‘impact benefits agreements’ (sometimes described in other words) to provide opportunities to communities affected by major projects. An IBA may provide for training and employment opportunities (there are commercial advantages to having a trained local workforce), consultation processes to monitor and address environmental issues, or more generally to secure cooperation and avoid litigation or civil disobedience, either of which can be very costly and impact the bottom line.

These two types of agreements may look very similar but they are conceptually different.

In your first scenario, if the Crown gave land to Petronas to give to Lax Kw’alaams, that would be a subsidy. It would augment or replace whatever benefits Petronas might offer under an IBA. That would not relieve the Crown of its duty to accommodate infringements of aboriginal rights. Again, duties to consult and accommodate are non-delegable. The Province would still be at square one in its dealings with Lax Kw’alaams.

By offering land directly to Lax Kw’alaams and cash benefits for various purposes (training, scholarships, road upgrades etc) the Crown is offering an accommodation. That is entirely between the Crown and the first nation. The Crown, as a matter of negotiations, is completely free to say to the first nation that the accommodation is for the Petronas project and for other LNG projects that are under various stages of consideration, eg on Digby and at Grassy Point. It would be in the provincial interest to have a wide ranging agreement, to provide greater certainty for LNG proponents and investors.

To introduce another hypothetical, if it turned out that a leaked Cabinet document indicated that the land transfer and other benefits were not really intended to be an accommodation, to discharge the Crown’s duties, but were really a cynical ploy to provide benefits that Petronas might otherwise offer through an IBA, the Province should expect to be sued for having failed to act in good faith and with honour. What appeared to have been an accommodation that only the Crown could make, may be determined to have been a payment on behalf of a third party. That would bring the parties back to square one to negotiate a proper, good faith accommodation agreement. There is no reason for the Province to take that risk.

I hope that helps explain why the allegation that the Provincial offer of land and other benefits is really a subsidy to Petronas is deeply flawed and ill conceived. It is an accommodation, offered by the Crown to the first nation, to discharge its legal obligations, and to secure first nation support for the Petronas project and possibly others.

Good luck at what remains of the CEAA hearings. It will be interesting to see if any council members who have been vocal about the Petronas project make appearances, or whether they will just stand on the sidelines.


#13

this deal is good for the whole region, left wing enviromentalists will always be opposed to any type of fuel industry, while right wing nuts would love to have no enviromental controls, the middle ground is always the better solution, as for where the plant goes can anyone show where the harm would be to the skeena salmon run? Natural gas dissipates in the air if a pipeline is ruptured, as for the eelgrass you telling me all these years with the boats and ships going to the pulp mill before it was shut down it did not disturb the eelgrass?

what im wondering though is where is metlakatla on this deal? do they benefit too?


#14

It is true that some are against all LNG but PNW is not the middle ground.
Why bring up ships going by? The most serious threat is the hundreds of piles.
An international expert with no ax to grind says this project poses a serious risk.
I blame the port they were more concerned with getting the project in their boundaries than with Petronas or with salmon.
But now the stupid siting decision is made do we just go along at any cost?
Maybe the wave action in winter isn’t needed to maintain the bank. Maybe it won’t erode.Maybe the water won’t be slowed enough by the piles to let too much mud settle. Risking our greatest regional treasure our Skeena salmon seems to be pretty far over to the don’t have any environmental concerns side of the spectrum.


#15

[quote=“Jabber63”]this deal is good for the whole region, left wing enviromentalists will always be opposed to any type of fuel industry, while right wing nuts would love to have no enviromental controls, the middle ground is always the better solution, as for where the plant goes can anyone show where the harm would be to the skeena salmon run? Natural gas dissipates in the air if a pipeline is ruptured, as for the eelgrass you telling me all these years with the boats and ships going to the pulp mill before it was shut down it did not disturb the eelgrass?

what im wondering though is where is metlakatla on this deal? do they benefit too?[/quote]

Metlakatla signed their own arrangement with PNW back in December of last year

northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … t-lng.html


#16

if I recall this is the same scientist that said the bridge’s shadow would harm the eelgrass as well?, right after Petronas changed its plans from dredging to building the bridge, if that is the same scientist then I do think that person does have an axe to grind. ie: no LNG period


#17

thanks North Coast Review for this post

northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … ue-to.html

and why the HELL has the city put a scientist on its payroll but yet can not use 200,000 from the legacy fund for its budget
plus with the city going to Petronas with cup in hand for money for infrastructure what a slap to the face to Petronas to have our resident scientist speak out against the project.


#18

Good article from the Globe on how the Lax Kw’alaams Band officials have handled their economic files over the years.

theglobeandmail.com/news/bri … e24251430/


#19

Yes the first nations have done well in past but they need to have someone like chris sankey to make sure that the money goes to help all the folks in the band and keep them honest.


#20

"if I recall this is the same scientist that said …"
One is a local Ph.D. in biological and chemical oceanography.This guy is a Ph.D. in geology and a leader in the field of sediment transport and sedimentation dynamics. Internationally his method is used to solve engineering issues and improve aquatic environments related to port design, ocean dumping, coastal erosion, dredging and contaminated sediment remediation. He has also worked closely with the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Cambridge and is the author of more than 30 scientific papers.
"right after Petronas changed its plans from dredging to building the bridge"
You think finding fault with the project after the design change is evidence of bias.Think about this: The new design is actually the first design before the initial EA minus the bridge. They added in a huge dredge and then took it out and said aren’t we considerate. Environmental consultants and the proponents show a pattern; if you look over dozens of applications for dredge it seems to be routine to ask for the moon and then cut the size back tremendously and say aren’t we considerate.
It is a standard negotiating ploy to go for something even worse than you actually want.