First Nation concerned Bill C-45 allows Tar Sands industry to destroy vital waterways and treaty rights

Eriel Deranger

October 18, 2012 – Fort McMurray, AB – Today the conservative government tabled a new version of Bill C-45, a 443-page bill, to implement its federal budget. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) was taken aback by the proposed amendments stating they are indicative of the further erosion of Treaty rights in Canada. ACFN leadership is particularly worried about suggested amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the removal of culturally significant and vital river ways from the act.

“This is unacceptable. They have made a unilateral decision remove the protection of waterways without adequate consultation with First Nations and communities that rely on river systems for navigation and cultural practices protected under treaty,” stated Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Shell Canada has proposed to mine out 21km of the Muskeg River, a river of cultural and biological significance, that would no longer be protected under these new amendments. This ultimately gives the tar sands industry a green light to destroy vital waterways still used by our people.”

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is gearing up for presenting a question of constitutional law against the application of Shell Oil Canada to expand one of it’s existing project, citing lack of adequate or meaningful consultation and that the application would have adverse impact on their treaty rights. In particular, the application calls for the mining out of 21 km of the Muskeg river, a river of cultural and traditional significance to both the people and wildlife in the area. The new legislative changes would remove the protection of the Muskeg river making it much easier for Shell to gain approval.

“I am seriously concerned this is an indication of corruption in our current government. We have seen the erosion of our people’s Treaty rights throughout various forms of legislation over the past decade. The new proposed amendments in Bill C-45 are proof the government hold little stock in our rights and title and are creating more loop holes for industry to continue annihilating our lands,” stated Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “We hope there will be a public outcry that echoes our sentiment. After all, we all share the responsibility to protect mother earth.”


For more information contact:

Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator ACFN 780-903-6598

Eriel Deranger
Tar Sands Communication Coordinator
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation


ph: 780-903-6598
fax: 888-737-5754
skype: eriel.deranger
Twitter: ACFNChallenge



(The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are bringing forward a question of constitutional law before the Joint Review panel challenging the application of Shell Oil’s Jackpine Mine Expansion on October 23rd in Fort McMurray, AB. They are asking the public to join them and stand in solidarity as they present their evidence against Shell’s proposed tar sands expansion project.

For more information about Shell’s proposals and ACFN’s Challenge please visit
A constitutional challenge is historically significant and may be the only remaining pieces of law that can stop the destruction of the land. This will be an incredible day to say you were a part of! ( (ACFN will be hosting a rally and pipe ceremony on the first day of the constitutional challenges hearings asking the people to join them in solidarity and ceremony. ( (This will be a peaceful rally and will include drummers and a traditional pipe ceremony. We ask that people please be respectful to the tone and seriousness of this event. (

**** (Schedule for the Day: ( (8:00 am – Pipe Ceremony ( (9:00am – ACFN will be presenting their constitutional Challenge starting at 9am at Macdonald Island Park. The public is invited to come and listen in solidarity, to stand with the ACFN, and to witness this historic moment. Wewill begin the hearings with a pipe ceremony and drummers. ( (12:00pm – Public Press with Chief Adam and others – Come take a STAND with ACFN! Join us as Chief Adam gives comment to the hearings outside the doors of the facilities. ( (6:30 pm – 9:00pm – Public Panel with Maude Barlow from the Council of Canadians, members from Beaver Lake First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – at MacDonald Island Park – Athabasca Room ( (That evening we will discuss these events and the constitutional challenge with guest speakers Maude Barlow, representatives from Fort McKay First Nation, Beaver Lake First Nation and ACFN representatives. 6:30pm -9:30pm. ( (***†

(If you would like to get on a bus from Edmonton, please RSVP your spot (we have 56 spots) to or by phoning 780-722-1226.† ( (Bus leaves Edmonton at 6am and returns that evening after the speaking event at 9pm. Please bring your own food and water for the event, as there will be some snacks served at the speaking event in the evening.† ( (We are asking for a $10-$20 donation for coming on the bus to help pay for the costs of transportation. Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds! ( (*****

( (Can’t come to Fort McMurray on the 23rd? ( (Here are some easy steps for you to stand with ACFN in the lead up to the event: ( (+ Share this event with your friends and networks via email and through facebook:†
+ Make the photo attached your profile picture in the lead up to October 23rd ( (+ Post a photo of yourself and a home made sign to the facebook event page and your personal page. Signs could say “I Stand with ACFN” or your own personal message. Be sure to link the event page to your photo. ( (+ Send a letter to Shell about how you stand with the ACFN and why you are against the projects by visiting
†***** ( ( We are rightfully concerned about how Shell s proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion Project will impact and infringe our section 35 rights. It s clear Shell s current application does not include enough information for the JRP to appropriately assess potential impacts on our rights,  stated Chief Allan Adam of ACFN.† ( ( We hope the JRP will respect our unique rights and implement our recommendations and not let Shell slide through the approval process without addressing our concerns,  stated Chief Adam. We will no longer stand on the side lines as Shell permanently destroys our lands, our rivers, our rights and our community. †

Eriel Deranger
Tar Sands Communication Coordinator
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

ph: 780-903-6598
fax: 888-737-5754
skype: eriel.deranger
Twitter: ACFNChallenge

The Kinder Morgan pipeline through the eyes of UFV’s resident elder

Nadine Moedt

The Kinder Morgan pipeline through the eyes of UFV’s resident elder

By Nadine Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: October 10, 2012

Eddie Gardner is the resident elder at UFV, and hails from the Skwah First Nation Village in Chilliwack. He talks frankly about the Kinder Morgan pipeline, what he sees as potential issues, some potential solutions, and how students can get involved.

First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself? How would you describe the role of resident elder at UFV?

My name is Eddie Gardner, my Halq’emeylem name is T’it’elem Spath. As resident elder, I provide support and encouragement so that our students can achieve the highest quality education they can.

We play a role in making this a very welcoming place for them, and with the support that the aboriginal access centre has for students both here and in Chilliwack. We want to increase the number of aboriginal people coming to university for some higher learning, so that they in turn can take those skills and credentials and make their own contributions towards healthy and strong communities.

I’d like to discuss some of your concerns regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline. What effects does the pipeline and proposed expansion have on the Aboriginal community?

It’s a risk too high for the aboriginal communities all the way to Kitimat or to Burnaby with Kinder Morgan. This project poses a real threat to the land, the water and the air. What we hold very precious is our wild salmon. If there is an oil spill either along the coast or in the rivers and stream where wild salmon spawn, that could cause the demise of wild salmon. We don’t want to see that.

Aboriginal communities have taken fierce resistance to this, and they’re asking that they be involved in comprehensive consultations on the whole business of having this bitumen being piped to the coastal waters.

The Tsleil-Waututh band in Burnaby are quite fearful of the increase of the supertankers, being loaded with bitumen and shipping through to Asia or down in the states. With the increase of tanker traffic there is a risk of an oil spill in the pacific coast as well. It would take years and years for a proper cleanup to take place.

For the Fraser valley and especially Chilliwack, we boast about the cleanest water in Canada—and it is—which could go by the wayside if there’s a spill in this area. We’re quite concerned about that.

That’s essentially where aboriginal people stand: the risks are just too high. We have aboriginal constitutional rights to be properly consulted, which haven’t taken place yet.

The big concern is that proper assessments are not taking place. Christy Clark has abdicated her responsibilities and handed over the assessments to the National Energy Board, when she could have had more provincial control over the assessments. We look at Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying this is going to go through, this, he says, is in the national interest of all Canadians and we must get this oil to Asian markets. On top of that, he’s said that the NEB will make all of their recommendations and conduct their public hearings on the Enbridge project, and [despite] whatever recommendations come out of the national energy board, cabinet will have the final say. It really undermines any assessment that’s taking place, especially by our federal government.

Can you tell us about the background of Kinder Morgan from an aboriginal perspective?

Well, Kinder Morgan took over the Trans mountain pipeline about six years ago. But the Trans mountain pipeline was built in the 1950s.

In the 1950s the department of Indian and Northern affairs was very compliant about it all. At that time people weren’t as conscious about oil. They were shipping crude oil through those pipelines, not bitumen. Since they first constructed the pipeline, aboriginal peoples have started to gain more control and begun to establish stronger First Nations’ governance.

In the early 1990s, they lobbied when Trudeau repatriated the constitution of Canada, First Nations people stepped up to the plate and through their lobby efforts here in Canada and at the United Nations we successfully got Aboriginal rights and entitlements included in the constitution of Canada.

So the political and social landscape and the state of the economy are much different today. I see where First Nations people have more access to information and have much more political clout than they did back then. Those dynamics will play themselves out.

Obviously there are some people in favour of both of the pipelines. Economic benefits are a key point in their defence. Would you agree with these arguments to any extent?

It’s a legitimate concern; it’s realistic to acknowledge that the global economy as it is right now needs oil. The other side of the issue is that it’s a finite, non-renewable resource, and eventually we’re going to run out of this stuff. As we run out of oil, the exploration for new reserves of oil will cost a lot of money and be more invasive. The tar sands are getting more expensive to extract. That all goes to the cost of running the economy. Eventually there’s going to be a crash.

There are obvious dangers and pitfalls to the belief that there’s no end to growth. It’s an illusion and more and more people are waking up to that. We need to invest a lot more of money and energy into technologies based on renewable resources, rather than using it to extract oil. What we’re doing now is a short-term solution.

If we stop Kinder Morgan and Enbridge right now, there are a number of alternatives that can be looked at. Piping oil through BC is treacherous. Landslides, earthquakes, storms, high winds, all those different factors create an inevitable—not if, but when—disaster. Instead of going that route they could refine that oil in Alberta and ship it out east. If we refine the oil here in Canada, shipping it would be less dangerous to the economy than pumping bitumen through these pipelines to China and having them refine it there. I think that would be a better way to go.

Canada does generate enough oil from the oil sands, yet it continues to import our oil from other countries. It makes more sense to refine it in Canada. And at the same time, pick up the pace when it comes to looking at alternative energy.

How can students at UFV get involved in the cause?

It’s in their best interest to take a look at all the issues. It’s important to be as objective as possible and really take stock of the agenda that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has set for Canada.

The students really need to take a look at the politics of the issue. Where does the provincial government stand on it? How does that play out on with federal jurisdiction and authority?

Then there’s the whole business of Harper’s clearing the road as best he can to bowl these pipelines through by restricting who is entitled to be included in the consultation process; on one hand this is an issue of national interest, yet only certain people have a right to be consulted. If it’s of national interest then it should be open to the broader public, to inform themselves.

When we look at the future, students in all disciplines need to examine in their own study what the long term impacts are of an economy that is run on non-renewable resources, as those resources are heading towards scarcity.

This issue exposes everyone to some soul-searching questions to what their future looks like and what their children’s future will look like if we don’t take this to heart and really wrestle with these huge issues before us.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.



What: Unis’tot’en Solidarity Bloc
Where: Defend our Coast rally, BC Legislative Buildings, Victoria, BC
When: Saturday October 22nd, 2012 11am

Dear Friends and Allies,

While we gather in Victoria to engage in a symbolic act of civil disobedience, the Unis’tot’en will continue their direct resistance as they stand in the way of the proposed pipeline corridor. The most immediate threat to their safety is the proposed Pacific Trails pipeline, which intends to carry shale gas from the fracking fields in Northeastern BC to Kitimat for overseas export via LNG tankers. If successful, Pacific Trails would clear a right-of-way path for Enbridge Northern Gateway which wants to follow the same route.

On the day of the Oct 22nd Defend Our Coast rally and civil disobedience action in Victoria, CASGW is calling for an Unis’tot’en Solidarity Bloc to be present as support and also to invite participants to make stopping Pacific Trails a priority as well as the more publicized Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects.

For the past three years, the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en people have maintained a cabin on their traditional territory directly in the path of the proposed pipeline corridor through Northern, BC. Asserting their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent as indigenous people, the Unis’ tot’en have made the decision to not allow any fossil fuel pipelines through their territory in order to protect the waters and the land for future generations.

As community allies, we feel we are strongest when we stand together. That means recognizing the links between individual struggles. As we stand to Defend the Coast, we also stand in solidarity with impacted communities all the way along the proposed pipeline route. No community should be left behind simply because their cause cannot be fitted into a convenient NGO framework.

As we work to stop the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure into BC, the ultimate goal must always remain shutting down the Tar Sands themselves. To that end we must recognize and support the work of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and their historic constitutional challenge against Shell.

No to Tankers! No To All Pipelines Threatening Indigenous Lands! No Fracking! No Tar Sands!

For more information:

About CASGW:

At the third annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp this summer, community allies from all over BC and beyond converged for a week of training, workshops, and discussions. From discussions between the Unis’tot’en and allies who wanted to make a long-term commitment to solidarity work with the community, Community Allies Supporting Grassroots Wet’suwet’en was formed.

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.

Crucial pipelines jeopardized by failure to consult first nations, Prentice warns

A prominent former minister in Stephen Harper’s cabinet has slammed Ottawa for failing to meet its constitutional obligations to consult first nations on West Coast pipelines, saying the government needs to move quickly to rescue projects that are essential to the country’s future prosperity.

In a speech delivered Thursday at the University of Calgary, CIBC vice-chairman Jim Prentice – who held several senior posts in the Conservative government, and is an expert on aboriginal law – delivered a scathing critique of complacency and short-sightedness in both the government and oil industry for failing to prepare more aggressively for the “seismic shift” under way in the global energy sector.


Clark requests meeting with Redford over Northern Gateway
Ontario’s Duncan mends fences with Alberta over oil sands
Provincial, federal ministers to skirt talk of a national energy strategy

Video: Prominent Canadians lend voice to anti-Northern Gateway campaign

Video: Harper sidesteps questions on Gateway pipeline feud

Video: Former environment minister slams Enbridge pipeline plan
“The Crown obligation to engage first nations in a meaningful way has yet to be taken up,” he said in that speech.

A failure to consult with aboriginal bands is not merely a political misstep: It could have dire legal repercussions for the proponents of pipelines through British Columbia. The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has a duty to consult with aboriginal communities over developments that would impact their traditional land, and to accommodate their concerns. Failure to do so has triggered successful legal actions by aboriginal bands.

In an interview, Mr. Prentice said the country must expand its capacity to export oil and natural gas from the West Coast to take advantage of growing Asian markets. Building that access is “one of the most important – and certainly one of the most challenging – initiatives our country has encountered in decades,” he said.

The Calgary native told his hometown audience that Ottawa’s neglect of the aboriginal relations could doom proposed oil pipelines, including Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway project and Kinder Morgan Inc.’s TransMountain pipeline expansion.

“The obligation to consult with and accommodate first nations … these are responsibilities of the federal government,” said Mr. Prentice, who held posts as minister of Indian affairs, industry, and environment before leaving government in 2010. “And take it from me as a former minister and former co-chair of the Indian Claims Commission of Canada, there will be no way forward on West Coast access without the central participation of the first nations of British Columbia.”

He argued that Ottawa should negotiate an agreement that ensures native communities can support pipeline projects without affecting their unsettled land claims and launch a co-management regime with those aboriginal communities for port terminals and shipping.

But first-nations leaders want more: They want revenue-sharing and a share of the profits.

“The word here is potential – we’ve got all of these proposals and they represent massive potential investment,” said David Porter, chief executive of the First Nations Energy and Mining Council, which represents B.C. chiefs.

“But for that to happen there has to be a serious discussion with the aboriginal representatives in British Columbia and particularly on the West Coast.”

Federal ministers have argued the native communities are being consulted through the environmental assessment process that is now being conducted by a federal review panel.

But Mr. Porter said the scope of that review is far too limited to be considered adequate consultation, and there has been no evidence of accommodation, though Enbridge and TransMountain have both offered ownership stakes to aboriginal communities along the pipeline routes. And he said if the federal government proceeds as it has, the pipeline proposals will be held up in court battles for years.

Lawyers working for first nations have said federal consultation has, to this point, been minimal. Instead, Ottawa has set a 90-day consultation window that would begin after the joint review panel examining the project does its work.

That is “completely inadequate,” said Allan Donovan, a Vancouver lawyer who has argued consultation matters before the Supreme Court, and is representing the Haisla Nation, which asserts rights to land where Gateway would terminate.

“We really don’t want to be talking at a time when the only issue left open is what colour of paint you use on the bottom of the hulls of tankers,” he said.

That stands in contrast to the B.C. government, which has worked in recent years to begin consultation work at a much earlier date, Mr. Donovan said. He also noted that attempts by Enbridge – a corporation – to communicate with first nations would not be considered Crown consultation, nor would the hearings held by the joint review panel.

It is clear, he said that Ottawa “dropped the ball. They never even had a hold of the ball as far as I can see.” That has provided an opening for first-nations opponents, for whom a constitutional challenge is a clear option.

“It’s very likely that that’s exactly what would occur if, despite everything, the government approved the project,” Mr. Donovan said.

A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan could not provide a response to Mr. Prentice’s charges before deadline last night.

Canadian opposition to the Northern Gateway project is on the rise, according to a poll conducted by Forum Research Inc.

Of those surveyed across Canada on Sept. 26, 48 per cent opposed the project, 34 per cent were in favour and 18 per cent said they didn’t know. In British Columbia, 55 per cent of those polled said they were opposed, 37 per cent were in favour and the rest didn’t know.

B.C. opposition to the Northern Gateway proposal was at 46 per cent in mid-December last year, but rose to 65 per cent in a sampling Aug. 1 by Forum Research.

“It appears the more British Columbians learn about Northern Gateway, the less likely they are to dismiss it out of hand,” Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement Thursday.

The latest telephone poll of 1,758 Canadians is considered accurate within 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Conservative government has loudly trumpeted its desire to expand commercial relations with Asia for the past two years, and has won kudos from business groups for its heightened focus on the issue. But critics say the country remains ill-prepared for the dramatic shift in economic power that is now occurring.

“We need a national debate on this, and it is only just beginning,” said Wendy Dobson, an economist and China-expert at the University of Toronto.

Mr. Prentice said Canada’s access to the rich U.S. market has left industry and government complacent for too long.

“We are new to the global energy game and, frankly, we aren’t yet playing that game with much skill, foresight or cohesiveness,” he said. “Despite our natural advantages, we have failed to occupy the strategic high ground.”

Editor’s Note: David Porter’s name and title have been corrected in the online edition of this story.

Lawyers for First Nation question benefits of proposed Northern Gateway pipeline

EDMONTON – The benefits to the oil industry of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline may be exaggerated and its costs to the economy and environment underestimated, hearings into the project heard Tuesday.

The $6-billion pipeline has been touted as a way to link burgeoning production from Alberta’s oilsands to growing markets in Asia, which would allow Canadian producers to improve profits by reaping higher prices for crude overseas.

But a lawyer for the Haisla First Nation, which claims much of the land the pipeline would travel though, said projections of nearly $1.5 billion a year in increased revenue by 2018 are inflated.

Hana Boye said the estimate Enbridge (TSX:ENB) is presenting at the National Energy Board hearings was developed with figures from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers which suggest oil supply in Western Canada will grow by 6.5 per cent a year between 2011 and 2020.

That’s different than what Enbridge is telling its own investors and shareholders, said Boye. The company’s own estimate is 4.4 per cent growth — a difference of 500,000 barrels a day by 2020 that leads to a corresponding drop in revenues earned by producers.

“Have you given a different supply forecast to your shareholders than that provided to the panel?” Boye asked Enbridge’s Gateway manager John Carruthers on Tuesday.

Carruthers acknowledged that different figures have been used at different times. Estimates can vary depending on assumptions of what the mix of varying crudes would be, he said.

“There would be times when we would see differences.”

But the variances aren’t big enough to change the project’s economics, Carruthers said.

“The minor changes over time don’t change the project need.”

Boye added that the project could discourage the upgrading of oilsands bitumen in Alberta and that its cost to the environment hasn’t been fully evaluated.

She pressed Enbridge over the use of diluent — lightweight solvents mixed with bitumen or other heavy crudes to make them flow through a pipe. Although the mix varies, roughly one-third of what would flow through the Gateway line would be diluent. The Gateway project includes a second pipeline that would import diluent from the B.C. coast back to Alberta.

Boye suggested the cost of that diluent has not been factored into calculations of producer benefit.

Ignoring the cost of diluent exaggerates the case for shipping raw bitumen outside Alberta for upgrading or refining, said Robyn Allan, an analyst for the Alberta Federation of Labour, who is advising the Haisla.

“There is no economic analysis … that’s been supplied to the hearings (of the impact) to the Canadian economy when we import condensate instead of upgrading in Alberta,” she said outside the hearing.

“Importing condensate instead of upgrading (bitumen) is hollowing out the sector.”

Boye also questioned environmental economist Mark Anielski about his dollar-value calculation of the project’s environmental impact. She pointed out that his analysis only included the 50-metre pipeline right of way and ignored possible effects outside that corridor.

Anielski responded those effects could exist, but there’s no credible method of putting a monetary value on them.

“This kind of information is not available,” he said. “To speculate would be unprofessional of me.”

Anielski also acknowledged his report didn’t put a value on a wide array of ecological effects from forests that would be disturbed by the pipeline — everything from erosion control to genetic diversity to pollination.

Enbridge has promised to plant a tree for every one cut down for the pipeline right-of-way, he said. The company is also working with the Nature Conservancy to protect land that would offset areas disturbed by the project.

The hearings are expected to continue in Edmonton throughout the week.

© The Canadian Press, 2012

First Nation opposes pipeline expansion

Picture: Save the Fraser: Gabriel George, a traditional speaker with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, leads a ceremony prior to the nation’s signing of the Save the Fraser declaration. The document reaffirms Tsleil-Waututh opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion, which will run through the nation’s traditional territory in Burnaby.
Photograph by: James Maclennan , SPECIAL TO THE BURNABY NOWA First Nation with traditional territory in Burnaby took another stance against the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion this past weekend.

On behalf of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, elected chief Justin George signed a declaration to save the Fraser River on Saturday, reaffirming the group’s opposition to the proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“We see the risks in this way too high,” George told the NOW.

The pipeline ships oil from Alberta to Burnaby, where tankers fill up with crude at the Westridge Marine Terminal in the Burrard Inlet inside the nation’s traditional territory.

According to George, the nation is concerned about the day-to-day operation of the pipeline, the proposed expansion and the associated increase in tanker traffic.

“The Vancouver port is challenging to navigate,” George said. “It’s called the Second Narrows for a reason – because it’s narrow. – We see human error as inevitable. In terms of an accident, we don’t think ‘if,’ we think ‘when?'”

The Trans Mountain pipeline transports up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day, but Kinder Morgan wants to increase capacity to 750,000 barrels by adding a twin line. The Tsleil-Waututh reserve is in North Vancouver, across the water from the Westridge Marine Terminal, but the group has traditional territory all around the inlet.

Tsleil-Waututh means people of the inlet, and the nation has a saying: “When the tide went out, the table was set.”

“As a young boy, we could harvest the clams, the cockles, the oysters,” George said. “Today, the Burrard Inlet is a complete dead zone for shellfish.”

George blamed major industry, especially oil, for the pollution and loss of edible shellfish.

Before signing the declaration on Saturday, the nation also hosted a traditional ceremony, with various business, environmental and First Nations groups as invited guests.

“For us, it’s about educating the public and creating awareness

about the proposal that’s in our territory and Greater Vancouver,” George said.

George seemed confident the nation could stop the project.

“We have aboriginal rights and title, and we’ll ensure those are respected and upheld in the process,” he said. “We have inherent rights to self-government; we’ve never deeded or ceded the land. – We don’t see any monetary value that can compensate the risks that are associated with this project.”

Kinder Morgan spokesperson Lexa Hobenshield confirmed

that the existing and proposed twin pipeline is in the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

“We are just getting underway with an open and thorough engagement along the route and marine corridor with aboriginal groups, landowners, communities and stakeholders,” she wrote in an email to the NOW. “We value our relationships with aboriginal groups in whose territories we operate and recognize and appreciate that aboriginal groups’ interests and responsibilities are unique. We are committed to open, transparent dialogue and mutually beneficial working relationships.”

Hobenshield said the company believes that engagement with aboriginal governments and peoples is important for ongoing operations and new projects.

“We have been seeking the opportunity to meet with Tsleil-Waututh for some time now. While they have advised they are not ready to meet with us yet, we stand ready to provide information to them and to meet with them at any time,” Hobenshield said. “We recognize that there will be some opposition to our project. This is about a balance of interests. We are committed to an extensive and thorough engagement on all aspects of the project with communities along the proposed route and marine corridors.”

Hobenshield said that results from the public hearing process will be the basis of Kinder Morgan’s application to the National Energy Board, which will determine if the project is in the public’s interest.

© Copyright (c) Burnaby Now

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