Aboriginal, environmental groups to sue Canada over Petronas LNG project

Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:27pm EDT
 
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By A. Ananthalakshmi

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Aboriginal and environmental groups plan to file lawsuits on Thursday against the government of Canada to overturn the permit for a controversial $27 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia, representatives of the groups said.

The planned lawsuits will name Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) [PETR.UL], which owns a majority stake in the project, as an associated party, the groups told Reuters this week.

In September, Canada gave the green light for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in northern British Columbia with 190 conditions, despite concerns it would destroy a critical salmon habitat and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases.

The decision was a major test for Canada's Liberal Party, juggling the needs of an energy industry sustaining job losses and the concerns of environmentalists, who were courted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in last year's election campaign.

A statement from the groups on Wednesday said they would be launching "multiple legal actions" against the project on Thursday at the Federal Court in Vancouver.

A legal challenge puts the future of the project at risk after it has already been hit with a three-year delay in getting its environmental permit and as Asian LNG prices have dropped by about two-thirds since 2014.

The Canadian government said it stood behind the decision to allow the plant to go ahead.

"This project underwent a three-year rigorous and thorough science-based process that evaluated and incorporated mitigation measures that will minimize the environmental impacts," said Caitlin Workman, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.   Continued...

 
A logo of a Petronas fuel station is seen against a darkening sky in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia February 10, 2016.     REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo