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B.C. reports 64 pipeline benefit deals with 29 northern First Nations

An aerial view of Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, B.C.

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The British Columbia government says it has completed benefit agreements with 90 per cent of the eligible First Nations along four proposed natural gas pipeline routes across northern B.C.

The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations says 64 natural gas pipeline benefits contracts have been signed with 29 First Nations and that most include financial payments worth over $1 million, although the ministry says only $13 million has been paid out so far.

Most of the agreements also have separate milestone payments, covering when construction begins or gas starts to flow.

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The four proposed pipelines linking the gas fields to the northern coast are Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project and the Pacific Trail Pipeline Project.

A government news release says the 16 First Nations along the Pacific Trail route would receive an estimated $32 million in direct benefits during the construction phase.

The ministry says the agreements help to establish long-term working relationships that include sharing benefits while supporting environmentally and socially responsible natural gas development that also respects aboriginal rights.

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