May 12, 2016
First Nations encourage federal government to move forward with its promised oil tanker ban and take Enbridge's doomed proposal off the table
SAIK'UZ FIRST NATION, BRITISH COLUMBIA/YINKA DENE TERRITORIES – (May 12, 2016) – With Enbridge Inc.'s Annual General Meeting underway today, First Nations of the Yinka Dene Alliance are speaking out against the company's recent request for a project extension for the Northern Gateway proposal, saying that more time will not sway their opposition and only further antagonize their communities.
"It has been more than a decade since this project was proposed and Yinka Dene Alliance First Nations have clearly and repeatedly told Enbridge that Northern Gateway is not permitted in our territories," said Chief Larry Nooski of Nadleh Whut'en First Nation. "It's disrespectful for Northern Gateway to ignore us by continuing to push its failed project because it only prolongs the amount of time and resources that First Nations must expend to prevent it from proceeding."
Last week Northern Gateway filed a request with the National Energy Board to extend the expiry date on its federal certificates by three years. The company is on track to miss mandatory deadlines in the certificates, which will cause the federal approval to expire at the end of 2016.
"Let's be clear: Enbridge is seeking an extension for Northern Gateway because the proposal has failed and it's desperate now," said Chief Stanley Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation, dismissing Enbridge's recent promise to increase Aboriginal equity ownership offers. "With the clock ticking on its expiry clause, Northern Gateway is making last-minute promises to First Nations, but our support is not for sale. We will not accept the environmental risks posed by Northern Gateway."
Prime Minister Trudeau has directed the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to formalize a ban on oil tankers on British Columbia's north coast, and in recent weeks he has re-emphasized that Northern Gateway's proposed route is "no place for a pipeline."
"Needless to say we agree with Prime Minister Trudeau's statements of opposition to Northern Gateway and we support his government's promise of an oil tanker ban," said Tribal Chief Terry Teegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
"Now is the time for the federal government to stick to its commitment and put an end to Northern Gateway," stated Chief Fred Sam of Nak'azdli. "Northern Gateway is not going to happen, and we want it off the table for good so that we can move forward and focus on our own priorities for the future of our people."
Tribal Chief Terry Teegee
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Yinka Dene Alliance Coordinator