VICTORIA — The Province of British Columbia has introduced legislation to amend the Income Tax Act to implement a natural gas tax credit and repeal two other acts it says created barriers to liquified natural gas (LNG) investment and pushed costs to taxpayers.
The new natural gas tax credit, effective Jan. 1, 2020 will be available to qualifying corporations and is currently calculated at three per cent of the cost of natural gas.
The Liquified Natural Gas Income Tax Act and the Liquified Natural Gas Project Agreements Act will also be repealed.
Once these steps are complete, a B.C. government news release stated, the final pieces of the policy framework for natural gas development set out by Premier John Horgan a year ago will be in place, as will the fiscal setting necessary for LNG Canada’s proposed $40-billion project in northern British Columbia.
“British Columbians are counting on us to attract LNG investment that meets strict conditions: delivering jobs and financial benefits to B.C., creating economic partnerships with Indigenous peoples, and protecting our clean air, land and water. This legislation completes the process of creating a fiscal framework that invites investment while supporting those conditions,” said B.C. Finance Minister Carole James in a statement.
The B.C. government estimates 10,000 construction jobs will be generated from the LNG Canada project, with 950 permanent jobs at the Kitimat processing terminal.
James also said the project will be the cleanest of its kind and will fit within greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets set by the government’s CleanBC climate action plan.
“With CleanBC, we’ve put in place a climate action plan that is the strongest in North America. Our GHG reduction targets are firm — we will be working with LNG Canada to make sure its development and operations live up to its environmental responsibilities to British Columbians,” James said.
B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is opposed to the legislation and said it would not reach GHG emission goals.
“Continuing to push for LNG development is short-sighted and works directly against CleanBC objectives. After years of criticizing the BC Liberals for their generous giveaway of our natural gas resources, the BC NDP have taken the giveaway to a whole new level. The legislation brought forward by this government is a generational sellout,” Weaver said.
“We have only identified a pathway to take us only 75 per cent of our 2030 emissions goals, yet we know that LNG Canada will emit an additional 3.45 megatonnes of greenhouse gases every year within our province alone, contributing massively to this gap. Government is demonstrating hypocrisy by supporting both LNG and CleanBC. They want to have their cake and eat it too,” he added.
The B.C. NDP governs the province in a minority government of 41 seats but has the support of the three Green seats in the Legislature. Weaver said the Green party will not support the legislation and that the Green caucus “remains committed to implementing CleanBC’s vision sustainable economic vision.”