First Nation Challenge of Shell tar sands mine

Keith Stewart

Request to sign open letter supporting FN challenge of Shell tar sands mine (please share widely)

The Request:

We are asking your organization to sign on the statement below in support of a First Nations Constitutional challenge of Shell’s proposed new tar sands mine. This statement will then be published as an open letter in an Alberta. You can indicate your sign-on by e-mailing Keith Stewart ( with your name and organizational affiliation by COB Oct 17.


Shell Canada is proposing two new tar sands mine projects in northern Alberta. Environmental assessment hearings on the first project, a 100,000 barrel per day expansion of the Jackpine Mine, are scheduled to start on Oct. 29 in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  (For more detail, see!home/mainPage ).

From the perspective of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations (ACFN), whose lands will be affected by both Shell mines, governments are not fulfilling the promises of Treaty 8. This has led them to file a challenge to the Jackpine Mine proposal under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution (you can read the Globe and Mail story here:

They are challenging the project on the basis of:

1.      A failure to consult the ACFN properly; and
2.      The irreversible impacts on culturally protected lands and hunting, fishing and trapping rights.

Such a challenge has never been fully argued in front of an Alberta Joint Review Panel. The hearings on the constitutional challenge will begin on October 23rd in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

We are asking you / your organization to support this work by signing on to the statement below, which will be published as a full-page ad in the Fort McMurray newspaper just before the constitutional hearings begin.

Statement for sign-on:

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations (ACFN) as they file a constitutional challenge of Shell’s application to expand the Jackpine Mine tar sands project.  This legal challenge argues that governments have failed to meaningfully address the overall impacts of development on ACFN’s treaty rights, and have failed to inform themselves of what ACFN requires in terms of land and resources to maintain their ability to exercise their rights now and into the future. Alberta’s approach to consultation does not promote reconciliation with the rights and interests of First Nations.

We recognize that the ACFN is taking this action to ensure that their rights and lands are protected.  We support them in this effort, and thank them for the leadership they are showing. The protection of mother earth for all people on this planet is a responsibility that we all share, and benefit from.


[list of names and organizations]

Keith Stewart, Ph.D.
Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator
Greenpeace Canada
(416) 659-0294 (c)
Twitter: @climatekeith

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept money from governments,
political parties or corporations.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. It comprises 28 independent national/regional offices in over 40 countries across Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Greenpeace International.

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