Editorial: Premier counting LNG chicks before they hatch

Staking the province's economic future on liquefied natural gas a risky move considering very little groundwork is in place

There is a perplexing situation surrounding the B.C. Liberals hinging the economic future of the province on liquefied natural gas to the tune of more than $400 billion in revenue.

The importance of natural gas to the Liberal government first made light during the election campaign, when the Liberals promised to clear the provincial debt and establish a Prosperity Fund with natural gas royalties and revenues.

Since winning the election, the Liberals have continued to rest much of the province’s future economic success on the natural gas industry.

In fact, Clark is heading out on tour, to essentially promote the natural gas industry in British Columbia.

With this kind of talk, the province is counting its chickens before they’ve hatched.

The problem is, the natural gas industry in British Columbia is in its infancy.

Of the handful of proposed liquefied natural gas plants alluded to in the Prosperity Fund calculations, three have received export permits, although clients have yet to be secured, and only two have passed environmental review.

Then there are the pipelines needed to get the natural gas to the LNG plants, most of which have not passed through the environmental assessment stage.

But Clark is going out there, telling the world B.C.’s natural gas industry will be providing clean energy to the rest of Canada and the world, although environmental groups dispute the “clean” part.

Hinging the province’s future on what can best be called unhatched chickens is not very prudent.

Unless, of course, Clark knows something about the regulatory process she isn’t sharing right now.