BC Chiefs say approving Petronas gas project akin to declaring war

lelu island hereditary chiefs

Indigenous leaders gather on Lelu island where the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation has set up camp to protest the construction of the Petronas LNG terminal. Photograph: SkeenaWatershed Coalition

by Mark Blackburn, APTN National News, April 19, 2016

OTTAWA — The fight over a mega gas pipeline project in British Columbia reached Ottawa Tuesday as chiefs and stakeholders opposed to the proposal shared a stage to get their message out.

“If they approve this project, I think (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) declared war on the people who are concerned about this system,” said Gerald Amos, chair of the Friends of Wild Salmon on behalf of the chiefs assembled.

Chiefs and other stakeholders from up and down the Skeena River on the B.C. interior coast south of Prince Rupert, B.C., flew to Ottawa to counter what they believe is a heavy lobby by Petronas-led Pacific Northwest Gas LNG to push the project through.

And to remind the Liberals of the promises they made before and after the election.

“What are we saying to Justin Trudeau? This is a poster child. Lela island and the Petronas project is the poster child for everything that is contained in every single letter that went out to his ministers. Climate change, greenhouse gases, relations with First Nations,” said Amos. “Everything is wrapped up in one issue in Petronas on Lela island and he has a challenge on his hands.”

Hereditary chiefs of Lelu Island, Wetsuwe’ten and Gitxsan First Nations joined other leaders to protest what they say are misleading claims of Indigenous support for the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas project.

A recent letter from Lax Kw’alaams’ Mayor John Helin to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna offered backing for the $36 billion LNG project on Lelu Island, south of Prince Rupert, if two conditions are met.

In a new release, Hereditary Chief Donald Wesley, a Lax Kw’alaams delegation member, says the incorrect claim of Indigenous support led to a letter from the Port Authority of Prince Rupert, threatening the eviction of protesters from traditional Lelu Island territories.

Opponents of the Pacific Northwest LNG project say it threatens Canada’s second largest wild salmon run and could undermine Canada’s climate change commitments.

The B.C. government says the project could generate more than 18,000 jobs and produce billions of dollars in revenue.

McKenna said in March that a cabinet decision on the environmental assessment should be made by late June.

The news release issued by the delegation pointed to what opponents argue is significant First Nation opposition from leaders and communities throughout northwestern British Columbia and across the province.

First Nations leaders were expected to clarify their position within the Lax Kw’alaams community in regards to Helin’s letter and address regional First Nation concerns and opposition to Pacific Northwest LNG while they are in Ottawa.



Posted on April 19, 2016, in Oil & Gas and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good for them! I hope they stick to their guns – reminding this PM of all the promises he made during the campaign, and how he assured them he had the backs of the indigenous people over the LNG controversies as well as Site C and Treaty 8!
    If they were only empty promises, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a revolution here in BC! We’ve been lied to, and ignored by both federal and provincial govts…. Clark can’t see past $$ signs and #GREED is her mantra. She would sell out her own mother I’d bet, for a few more bucks to shove in her #GREEDY hands!
    She doesn’t have the smarts to recognize that by pushing through these projects she is literally killing BC, it’s inhabitants, it’s tourist industry, it’s fishing industry. These things won’t be coming back EVER! Once fracking starts, earthquakes will become much more common, the salmon will be gone, the water will be tainted…… and for what?? Some corporate idiots with more money than brains….. but money – they think there is never enough! How short-sighted. Sigh…

  2. I hear you, Brothers of the same Mother, on whom we depend. The Earth is alive. Let’s keep it that way, before all species go the way of the dinosaur, including us. Maybe it’ll all burn, after a great earthquake. Will we continue also with nuclear detonations underground, under ocean and polluting everything with terrible chemicals, like with fracking? Wake up! If we continue warming as we are sure to do, the methane in the permafrost will be released and sea level rise will increase exponentially. The crisis is worse than we know. Good luck everyone!!

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