UPDATE: Pacific NorthWest LNG decision expected today

Federal leaders will announce a long-awaited decision on Pacific NorthWest LNG today.

According to a media release, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc will be in Richmond, B.C. for the announcement, set for 5 p.m.

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It will be the Trudeau government's first major decision on an energy project, after campaign promises to both protect the environment and grow the economy—including the oil and gas sector.

The Petronas-led project would source gas from Northeast B.C., and many see an LNG export economy as crucial for the region's oil and gas industry, which has been hard hit by the downturn in prices.

The project has been under review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for nearly three years. The federal cabinet promised to reach a decision by Oct. 2.

Some First Nations in the area say Pacific NorthWest LNG represents a threat to their salmon industry. It would be built on Lelu Island in the District of Port Edward.

Last week, Reuters reported the project would likely come with stringent environmental mitigation requirements.

Pacific NorthWest LNG has said it will review the conditions of the approval, reengineer the project and then make a final investment decision. It is unclear whether this decision will happen before the next provincial election, scheduled for May 2017.

On Tuesday, Nathan Cullen, member of parliament for the riding that would contain the controversial liquified natural gas export terminal, posted to his public Facebook page that the decision would come today.

There were earlier reports that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was bound for B.C. to make the announcement. Neither the premier's office nor the ministry of natural gas could confirm the visit when contacted Tuesday morning.

—this is a developing story that will be updated as information becomes available.


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