First Nations Warn Enbridge Against Trespassing; Call on BC Government to Withhold Drilling Permits for Unapproved Pipeline
As trespass signs go up, so do stakes for Christy Clark’s relationship with BC First Nations and her government’s plans for LNG development.
PRINCE GEORGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA – June 27, 2013 – The Yinka Dene Alliance has sent a cease and desist letter and is warning Enbridge against trespassing in their traditional territories as the company seeks temporary permits for drilling and tree removal for its unapproved Northern Gateway pipeline, a project that is opposed by the BC government and more than 60% of British Columbians.
The Alliance, whose members’ territories make-up 25% of the proposed pipeline route, say that Enbridge’s actions and the BC government’s potential indifference to granting temporary work permits, could put the government’s new relationship with BC First Nations at risk, including future talks on pipelines and LNG.
“The BC government has a constitutional duty to us, and it needs to decide how much damage it is willing to allow Enbridge to do to its own relationship with First Nations,” said Chief Fred Sam of the Nak’azdli First Nation. “Is BC really going to grant these permits to allow Enbridge to drill in our territory?'”
Last month, the Alliance, whose territory spans the width of the government’s envisioned LNG corridor, wrote to Premier Clark, requesting a government-to-government meeting on pipelines and LNG, and received a personal commitment from the Premier to begin high-level talks at the earliest opportunity.
“Premier Clark has given us her personal commitment that this project will not go forward unless it meets her five conditions,” said Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation. “While we thank and respect her for her position, we need to see it reflected on the land. In the meantime, we will enforce our laws and stand up for the people of BC who have said ‘no’ to Enbridge and its dangerous pipelines.”
The temporary work permits are for the construction of 16 drilling pads adjacent to the Salmon, Stuart and Muskeg rivers including tree removal and road clearing, bringing Enbridge drilling crews and local communities into potential conflict.
To make its position clear, the Alliance is placing public notices in local newspapers and erecting signs in its territory to warn Enbridge and its contractors against trespassing, promising to prosecute violators based on indigenous law. Representatives of more than 160 First Nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, banning tar sands oil pipelines from their territories and the migration routes of Fraser River salmon.
Full text of the trespass notice is available here: http://ow.ly/mqtDu
Pictures coming soon.
Chief Martin Louie
Nadleh Whut’en First Nation
Saik’uz First Nation
Yinka Dene Alliance