Submission to the Natural Gas Royalty Review - December 2021
First Things First Okanagan (FTFO) is a local non-profit society whose mission is to promote awareness of climate change and work to find solutions for a better future. We are deeply concerned about the increasing number and severity of climate-related disasters that our collective use of fossil fuels has created and agree with the International Energy Agency and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that financing for new fossil fuel projects must end immediately. In BC, it is time to redesign the gas royalty system so it no longer props up the unsustainable and polluting fracked gas industry.
Our recommendations for the new royalty system are:
Eliminate the deep well royalty credit and other subsidies that are embedded in the current system.
Charge a fair price. Royalty rates must reflect the true environmental and societal costs of fracking.
Stop giving away our water. The fracking industry currently pollutes billions of litres a year and pays almost nothing for it. Royalty rates should include charges for the water that is used and polluted.
Use the new royalty system to reduce climate emissions. Starting with a fair price and increasing it over time will discourage new infrastructure and help phase out fracked gas production as scientists world-wide say is necessary.
Adhere to BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The new royalty system must be developed in full partnership with traditional and elected Indigenous governments whose territories are impacted by the extraction, transport and export of gas.
Of the options presented in the discussion paper, only Option 1 (a flat rate on gas production) should be considered. It is the most transparent of the three options and unlike Options 2 and 3, would not shift the financial risk of new drilling and gas infrastructure from fracking companies to the BC public.
Transition to a new royalty system as quickly as possible, and in a way that stockpiled royalty credits don’t leave BC taxpayers on the hook for paying out fracking companies or forfeiting the future revenue that is owed to the public.
Listen to BC citizens, not to corporations. An Insights West poll done for Dogwood BC and released this October found about 70% of respondents want fracked gas subsidies to decrease or end.
We are in a climate emergency and must transition to a low-carbon economy as quickly as possible. A new gas royalty system can help us get there.