December 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
Judicial Review of Coastal GasLink Pipeline Filed
Dakelh Territory, Prince George. Today, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli First Nations, both of which are members of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, filed for judicial review of B.C.’s decision to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate for TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project. The decision to litigate was only arrived at by the Nations after they exhausted all other possible options to work with B.C. to ensure that their concerns about the Project’s impacts to their respective territories would be addressed.
The Project would cross approximately 200 km of the Nations’ unceded lands and waters, and create a new corridor in an area already heavily impacted by development. The Nations, and other Carrier Sekani member Nations, have serious concerns about how the Project and other regional development will impact fish and wildlife already in decline in CSTC territory. These concerns were raised, but not addressed, during the environmental assessment. Rather than working with the Nations on a government-to-government basis to address these and other concerns that were being raised by them, the Project was instead rushed through a defective and inadequate environmental assessment process. In doing so, B.C. also failed to meaningfully consult and accommodate the Nations.
Chief Martin Louie of Nadleh commented that the decision to litigate was not arrived at lightly: “We took every step possible to make our concerns known to B.C. and to work with the province to have our concerns addressed. Unfortunately, B.C. rushed the Project through the environmental assessment process and left us with no other option.” Chief Fred Sam of Nak’azdli stated: “We provided the Ministers with four expert reports that show how the Project could impact our territories, and our Aboriginal title and rights. The Ministers ignored the reports and issued the Certificate for the Project without even talking to us. That is not honourable.”
“We are not against development”, added Chief Sam. “Industry is just as frustrated as we are with how B.C. is managing its relationships with First Nations, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Tsilhqot’in case this year. The B.C. environmental assessment process has failed us again.”
CSTC and its other member Nations fully support the Nations’ decision to file the judicial review. Tribal Chief Terry Teegee stated, “CSTC and its member Nations have been raising serious concerns about the environmental assessment of this and other natural gas pipelines being proposed in CSTC territory. B.C. has refused to address those concerns in any way. Those environmental assessment processes have merely provided our member Nations with an opportunity to “blow off steam” on the way to a predetermined outcome – an approval of yet another major project in our territory without any meaningful regard to our Nations’ concerns. This approach is putting the entire LNG play in B.C. at risk. We would look forward to an opportunity to work with B.C. to ensure that our concerns are meaningfully addressed.”
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Chief Fred Sam, Nak’azdli First Nation. Cell: 1-250-996-3772. Chief Martin Louie, Nadleh Whut’en. Cell: 1-250-570-7759. Tribal Chief Terry Teegee, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Cell: 1-250-640-3256.
Link to related CSTC Media Releases: http://www.carriersekani.ca/news/cstc-responds-to-cglp-ea-certificate-issuance
Link to BCEAO CGLP site: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/html/deploy/epic_project_home_392.html
Map of CSTC Territory and Natural Gas Projects Proposed in Northern BC