British Columbia

Ottawa, B.C. to push electrification of gas industry to cut carbon emissions

The federal and British Columbia governments want to power the production of the natural gas industry in the province using electricity.

Forming committee with BC Hydro to push projects that increase power transmission

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan appear at the BC Hydro Trades Training Centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The federal and British Columbia governments want to power the production of the natural gas industry in the province using electricity.

As part of an agreement announced today, the two governments and BC Hydro are forming a committee to push projects that increase power transmission.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the agreement is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas industry, which produces about 18 per cent of the carbon pollution in the province.

"What this is means is that we're taking another major step forward in the fight against climate change and for clean economic growth to create good, middle class jobs," Trudeau said.

B.C. Premier John Horgan joined Trudeau in making the announcement on Thursday at a BC Hydro training centre in Surrey, saying the two governments are working to make the economy more environmentally sustainable.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan making an announcement at the BC Hydro Trades Training Centre in Surrey on Thursday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

One political scientist says pulling out the chequebook is par for the course in the lead-up to an election campaign. 

"There is this little thing called an election that's looming," said Shachi Kurl with Angus Reid Institute.

"If you're the government and you have the privilege of being the people who come in and make spending announcements.... Of course, it's a way to sweeten the pot."

Environmental groups have criticized Horgan's NDP government for its backing of the liquefied natural gas industry in B.C., arguing changes to the province's tax structure and subsidies are helping a sector that increases carbon pollution.

The federal and provincial governments have boosted LNG Canada's plans for a $40-billion project in Kitimat, which is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and up to 950 permanent positions in the processing terminal on the coast of B.C.

With files from CBC News

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