Yinka Dene Alliance

Media Backgrounder: First Nations Opposition to Northern Gateway

May 2016

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Representatives of well over 100 First Nations have declared opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal through the Save the Fraser Declaration, the Coastal First Nations Declaration and other publically available resolutions and media statements.¹

First Nations whose territories comprise a majority of the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker routes have rejected the project. ²

Eight First Nations are in the Federal Court of Appeal challenging the federal approval of Northern Gateway.³

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit have passed resolutions in opposition to Northern Gateway.

Northern Gateway does not have the level of support it claims. Northern Gateway argues that it has Aboriginal support, claiming to have signed equity agreements with 31 Aboriginal groups. This is misleading for the following reasons:

- Northern Gateway refuses to disclose the content of the equity agreements or identify who signed them. Only four signatories of equity agreements have stepped forward to support Northern Gateway, and only one of those is from a First Nation in BC.*

- Northern Gateway has disclosed that the equity agreements commit signatories: “To not oppose the Project in a general nature.”**  That is not “support” for the project.

- Northern Gateway selectively extended equity offers to groups with no communities near the project’s proposed route, if Northern Gateway determined they were interested, without accounting for opposed First Nations in the same area.***

- The federal Joint Review Panel noted “Northern Gateway said that it engaged with over 80 Aboriginal groups and organizations”**** – yet the company claims to have signed only 31 equity agreements, the majority of which are in Alberta where the pipeline is proposed to travel mostly along an existing right of way.

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¹ See here for a breakdown of many of the First Nations that have publically rejected Northern Gateway.
² See here for a map of the combined territories of First Nations in BC that have publically declared opposition to Northern Gateway.
³ Federal Court of Appeal Lead File Number A-437-14.
* http://www.terracestandard.com/news/378525205.html; See also Northern Gateway’s extension request.
** JRP exhibit B58-2 at PDF page 7.
*** JRP Report Volume 2 at page 294; JRP Exhibit B24-2 at PDF page 42.
**** JRP Report Volume 2 at page 27.