Controversial natural gas rule changes came after B.C., oil lobby met

Changes became law on April 14, but didn't stay that way for long

In January of this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers made a presentation to high-ranking officials in British Columbia's Environment Ministry, outlining changes they wanted to environmental review rules for natural gas projects.

Those changes became law on April 14, but they didn't stay that way for long.

An outcry from First Nations organizations forced an about-face from Environment Minister Mary Polak, who rescinded the revisions two days after they were passed by order-in-council.

Internal government documents obtained by The Canadian Press show 25 to 45 new natural gas plants will be needed to meet the government's hopes for liquefied natural gas and that the industry wanted regulatory changes expedited so they could make investment decisions.

The Environment Ministry says Polak met with "various industry and environmental organizations" to discuss the regulation change, but the documents don't make a single mention of any meetings other than with the petroleum producers' association.

The regulatory review carried out on the instructions of Premier Christy Clark continues, but the ministry says no further changes will go ahead without public review and input.

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