BC preparing injunction against Unist’ot’en pipeline resistance camp
Grassroots Wet’suwet’en and allies unite to say No Fracked Gas Pipelines!
by E. Doherty, Vancouver Media Coop, April 8, 2014
Leaders of the Unist’ot’en resistance camp held a press conference in Vancouver on April 7, 2014 in response to leaked information that the Provincial government is preparing an injunction against the camp. The camp is in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC on the route of the Pacific Trail fracked gas pipeline.
BC Premier Christie Clark has staked her political future on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, more accurately called liquefied fracked gas or LFG. But pipelines from the fracking fields in the province’s north-east must pass through unceded Indigenous territory on the way to the coast. They therefore require the free, prior and informed consent of the people of those lands; consent they do not have and will not receive from the Unist’ot’en and the other Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans.
“While the elected leadership of some Indian bands have signed agreements regarding the Pacific Trail Pipeline, Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans have jurisdiction over their territories” says Freda Huson “The Unist’ot’en are standing up for our territory, and protecting Mother Earth on a global scale by keeping fracked gas in the ground.”
Huson asserts that both indigenous law and the Canadian Supreme Court Delgamuukw decision prevents Indian band councils from unilaterally authorizing projects on Unist’ot’en land. She asserts that the Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans have the right to free, prior and informed consent – the right to say no – regarding any major projects, such as pipelines, on their unceded territory.
Resistance camp spokespeople Freda Huson and Toghestiy were in Vancouver after attending two historic gatherings of Indigenous land defenders and climate justice activists. The first was in Victoria March 29 to 31 and the second April 4th to 6th in Vancouver. The gatherings brought together hundreds of people opposing fracked gas and oilsands bitumen pipelines for joint training and strategy development.
Pipeline protest leaders vow to maintain right-of-way blockade
MARK HUME,The Globe and Mail, April 7, 2014
Leaders of a small native camp in central B.C. that is blocking the right-of-way of a proposed gas pipeline say they won’t be moving any time soon, even if a court orders them to.
Freda Huson and her husband, Dini Ze Toghestiy, who are both Wet’suwet’en members, said they have been dug in so long on the Pacific Trail Pipeline Project route that they consider the camp their home now.
In Vancouver over the weekend to attend “training workshops” for anti-pipeline protesters, Ms. Huson said she suspects an injunction may soon be brought against the camp, which is located about 60 kilometres south of Houston.
“We don’t give a care about their injunction … the blockade is already in place … nobody has a right to remove me,” said Ms. Huson, who belongs to the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en.
“We actually live there … so basically they are trying to put an injunction on our home,” she said.
“One of the big messages we’re trying to get out … we’re not criminals, we’re not looking for violence. We’re out there to try to protect the water and our land and our food so future generations can enjoy it,” said Mr. Toghestiy, a hereditary chief.
The Unis’tot’en Action Camp was first put up in 2010 after industry proposed a $1.5-billion, 470-kilometre gas pipeline between Summit Lake and a new liquefied natural gas plant to be built in Kitimat.
Since the protest camp was established, it has grown from a few tents, to include a cabin and a traditional pit house. A bunk house and more pit houses are planned.
Zoe Blunt, a spokesperson for Forest Action Network, an environmental group that supports the protest camp, said the number of people there varies throughout the year from a handful to 200.
Ms. Blunt’s group organized a caravan of supporters to go to the camp last summer and is currently raising funds in case money is needed to defend anyone arrested there.
The Pacific Trail Pipeline is the most advanced of several LNG projects proposed in B.C. Environmental approvals are in place and the right-of-way is surveyed, but Chevron Canada Ltd. and project partners Apache Canada Ltd. have yet to make a final decision on proceeding with the project.
The proponents claim to have widespread native support for the project.
“Fifteen of the 16 First Nations along the proposed PTP route are partners in the pipeline,” said Gillian Robinson-Riddell a spokesperson for Chevron Canada Ltd.
She said bands supporting the project have signed on as partners in the First Nations (PTP) Group Ltd., an aboriginal company that is doing a variety of contract work related to both the pipeline and LNG plant proposals.
“We’re working toward a final investment decision but there are a few factors [that have to be confirmed] yet,” said Ms. Robinson-Ridell on Monday. “Of course, we’re looking for further certainty around cost and design of the project … and we are looking for further First Nation support.”
She said her company is aware of the Unis’tot’en Action Camp, but denied the company is seeking an injunction against them.
“We have not filed anything,” she said.
Ms. Robinson-Riddell said although major construction work has not started on the project, 75 per cent of all pipeline contracts awarded so far have gone to First Nations businesses.
Karen Ogen, chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, one of the bands that makes up the larger tribal group, said most native communities support the proposed pipeline. However, she accepted that supporters of the Unis’tot’en Action Camp don’t feel that way.
“Everybody has a right to their own opinion,” she said.
Posted on April 8, 2014, in Oil & Gas and tagged native blockades, oil and gas pipelines+Indigenous resistance, Pacific Trails Pipeline, Unis’tot’en, Unistoten camp, Wet'suwet'en. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.