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Environmental considerations paramount in Nisga’a response to Northwest Transmission Line

by NationTalk on September 20, 2009649 Views

The Nisga’a Nation has not yet determined whether this is a project that it can support.

VANCOUVER, Sept. 18, 2009

Nelson Leeson, President of the Nisga’a Nation, reacted to Canada’s announcement that it will provide funding for the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line in northern British Columbia.The Nisga’a Nation stands in a unique position in relation to the proposed Northwest Transmission Line, as both routes being considered for the line would adversely affect Nisga’a interests under the Nisga’a Treaty. The primary route for the line being proposed by British Columbia Transmission Corporation would run through the heart of Nisga’a Lands – land that the Nisga’a Nation owns under the Nisga’a Treaty. The secondary route being considered would run through an area of undoubted environmental sensitivity that is of great importance to the Nisga’a in relation to fish and wildlife habitat.

“We will have a great deal to say about the acceptability of both route options,” commented President Leeson. “Any process for assessing the environmental effects of the Northwest Transmission Line must strictly comply with the requirements of our Treaty.”

The Nisga’a Nation has not yet determined whether this is a project that it can support. As President Leeson further noted, “There is much work to be done if we are to be satisfied that the Northwest Transmission Line can be constructed along either of the proposed routes without an environmental price that is too high for us to pay. Our concerns regarding the potential environmental effects of the proposed line take precedence over any economic benefits that the project may bring to the Nisga’a Nation and Nisga’a citizens.”

The Nisga’a Nation has already expressed concerns about the appropriateness of the environmental assessment process that has been commenced in respect of the Northwest Transmission Line. The Nisga’a Nation will demand that a proper foundation for any environmental assessment process be laid before any application for an environmental assessment certificate proceeds.

For further information: Nelson Leeson, President of the Nisga’a Nation, (250) 633-3002; Les Clayton, Director of Communications and Intergovernmental Relations of Nisga’a Lisims Government, (250) 633-3007

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