November 29, 2016
Dalkeh Territory, Prince George, BC - The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council (CSTC) is pleased that after more than a decade of fighting, the Canadian Government has finally come to its senses and will no longer support to advance the development of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project.
“This project was not worth the risk to our lands and waters. Today Prime Minister Trudeau made a final decision to kill the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. We will continue to protect our lands, water for future generations,” Tribal Chief Terry Teegee stated.
Ever since the Enbridge project was proposed over 10 years ago, the CSTC, its member First Nations, the Yinka Dene Alliance, other First Nations and other alliances have been very clear in our opposition. This project was not worth the risk; it had no benefits for our people, the people of British Columbia, or for any Canadian. Enbridge and the Crown failed to move us. Any benefits touted by Enbridge were all grossly dwarfed by the large-scale environmental damage caused by the extraction of oil from Alberta’s Oil Sands, and by the looming ecological disaster waiting on our doorsteps, when the pipeline breaks.
If there are lessons to be learned, it is that the environmental review process (i.e. NEB, BCEAO) is flawed and needs to be revised. Industry and government also need to understand they do not have "carte blanche" authority, and they need to address First Nations rights and title, including our ability to make decisions on major projects. Industry should not waste time and resources on projects that are not supported by Indigenous peoples, and on projects that see minimal benefits to citizens of Canada. Finally, First Nations need not to be afraid to assert their traditional rights and title, rather they should exercise their full inherent rights to protect their lands for today and for future generations.
While the CSTC is pleased with the decision to stop the Northern Gateway Project and ban crude oil in the north coast, we are disappointed in the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline which places the Fraser River and Salish Sea at risk. Chief Teegee stated, "The reason we fought Enbridge Northern Gateway was to prevent any disasters to our waterways. This is the reason we support the Yinka Dene Alliance's 'Save The Fraser Declaration', which opposes all heavy oil pipeline crossing indigenous lands and waters.”
We have reached a tipping point where climate change is affecting all human life. The low carbon economy will need innovation and investment. The CSTC will work with Canada and others to ensure we can reach important milestones for sustainable resource management for our future generations.
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Tribal Chief Terry Teegee