Canada: BC Premier's 2015/16 Mandate Letters Highlight Policy Priorities On LNG, Climate Change, Oil Spill Safety And Tailings Pond Management

On June 12, 2015, British Columbia (BC) Premier Christy Clark issued updated mandate letters to her provincial cabinet ministers. The annual mandate letter provides the government's annual direction to the various provincial ministries and confirms each ministry's priorities for the year.

On energy, mining and the environment, below is a look at some of the key priorities that the Premier has set out in the 2015/16 mandate letters. In addition to balancing ministerial budgets, and the continued development of BC's liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and the Site C dam, the 2015/16 mandate letters are also focused on climate change issues, oil spill safety and improved tailings pond management.

Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development:

  • Work with LNG project proponents to secure signed Project Development Agreements that will lead to financially secure arrangements for both LNG developers and taxpayers.
  • As part of the Jobs Plan Update, update BC's Natural Gas Strategy.
  • Working with the Ministry of Finance, prepare legislation to enact BC's Prosperity Fund for introduction in the spring 2017 legislative session.
  • Working with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation to ensure BC First Nations are able to participate in the economic development opportunities available through the creation of a new LNG industry in the province.
  • Successfully host the third annual LNG conference in fall 2015.
  • Work with Finance to make recommendations to Cabinet on the creation of a new clean infrastructure credit program.
  • Work with the Ministry of Environment to participate in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion federal environmental review and ensure that the project meets our five conditions for considering support for heavy oil projects in BC.

Mary Polak, Minister of Environment:

  • Work with Emergency Management British Columbia and federal government agencies to review and make recommendations to Cabinet on ways to improve oil spill safety and response following the Simushir power failure on the North Coast and the Marathassa bunker fuel spill in English Bay.
  • Work with the members of the Climate Leadership Team and develop options for Cabinet on how to move forward with our new Climate Leadership Plan, the BC government's next generation of climate policy leadership.
  • With the Premier's Officer, prepare for and position British Columbia to make a meaningful contribution prior to attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 in Paris this winter.
  • Working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to undertake an analysis of the impact of lower snowpacks and retreating glaciers on the forests of British Columbia and make recommendations to cabinet on strategies to protect our forests from any impacts of climate change.
  • Complete the land-based heavy oil spill response studies and consultations and make recommendations to Cabinet on how to ensure our spill response regime requirements are consistent with the Premier's Five Conditions for Heavy Oil Consideration.

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review:

  • Implement the recommendations of the BC Utilities Commission review task force.
  • Work with BC Hydro to deliver the Site C project on time and on budget.
  • Continue to work with BC Hydro and Clean Energy BC to identify further opportunities for clean energy producers in BC.
  • Ensure the recommendations of the independent Mount Polley Review Panel are acted upon and all mines have undertaken the actions recommended by the panel and required by government.
  • Work with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation on the Mining Dialogue with First Nations that was committed following the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond collapse.
  • Implement the Major Mines Permitting Office.

John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation:

  • Work with BC First Nations that participate in and benefit from natural gas extraction, pipelines or LNG facilities to ensure they are provided with the ability to participate in this generational opportunity.
  • Work with BC First Nations to ensure they continue to participate in and benefit from the Clean Energy Standing Offer by BC Hydro through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
  • Work with BC Hydro to ensure First Nations have the ability to participate in economic development opportunities arising from the construction of the Site C dam.
  • Continue to work with BC First Nations who are in the Treaty Process and who have an opportunity to secure a treaty with British Columbia and Canada to provide all parties with economic benefit and long lasting security.
  • Continue to work with the Tsilqot'in National Government to implement the Letter of Understanding signed with the Province of British Columbia.

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations:

  • Undertake a review of registry services and permits issued by the Ministry and identify which permits can be administered online to reduce the time between application and issuance of the permit.
  • Review the recent Auditor General Report on Cumulative Effects assessment and make recommendations to Cabinet on ways to improve application of the framework while undertaking integrated management decisions.
  • Finalize and implement the Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem-based management agreement.
  • Work with the forest industry on a new Forest Sector Competitiveness Strategy to maintain and enhance the industry, protect jobs and forest dependent communities and extract maximum value from our forest resource.
  • Examine ways to enhance the security of fibre supply for secondary and non-lumber users of lower quality and residual fibre and bring forward options that can be introduced in the spring 2016 legislative session.

Premier Clark first issued ministry mandate letters in June 2013. The mandate letters are designed to act as ongoing work plans for each ministry and are updated on an annual basis.

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