Squamish Nation Supports First Nation’s Opposition to Northern Gateway Approval and Expresses Concern over Pipeline & Tanker Review Process
NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, June 19, 2014 – The Squamish Nation supports First Nations’ opposition to the federal government’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
“Squamish is critically concerned that this approval shows the federal government’s intention to ignore any amount of opposition, including from First Nations, in order to accomplish its energy agenda” says Chief Ian Campbell, spokesperson for the Squamish Nation.
On June 17, 2014, despite significant opposition, the federal government approved Enbridge’s plan to build a new pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast, subject to the 209 conditions recommended by the Joint Review Panel and further consultation with First Nations. In response, thirty-one First Nations expressed their intention to oppose the project and to “immediately go to court to vigorously pursue all lawful means to stop the Enbridge project”.
“Squamish completely supports the decision of the First Nations to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline. The pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to the people of British Columbia. A tanker spill would devastate British Columbia’s coastline and have far reaching effects”, says Chief Ian Campbell.
“The joint review process for the project was completely inadequate and did not allow for meaningful consultation with First Nations. However, as flawed as the joint review process was for the Northern Gateway project, the Squamish Nation is facing an unbelievably more flawed review process for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project” explains Chief Ian Campbell.
Some key differences between the review process for the Kinder Morgan project and the Northern Gateway project are:
- While the Northern Gateway review process was carried out by the National Energy Board in conjunction with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, as a result of the federal government’s 2012 controversial scheme, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is being reviewed by the National Energy Board alone.
- The review process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is also subject to a tight 15 month timeline, compared to the 3 years and six month review of Northern Gateway. Consequently, participation in the review was cut down to only those “directly affected” and those or who have “relevant information or expertise”.
- There is no opportunity for oral cross-examination of Kinder Morgan, only cross-examination of First Nations providing oral traditional evidence.
- The National Energy Board has also created rules for First Nations on what constitutes oral traditional evidence, which were not present during the Northern Gateway hearing, and has placed a 30 day limit for First Nations to supply oral evidence.
- The time scheduled for hearing First Nations’ oral evidence (August) also falls directly within fishing season, limiting the ability of some First Nations to attend.
“The process is totally flawed and unfair. The process seems to be designed to rush through the approval of the project and to limit the participation of First Nations. First we are told that First Nations cannot cross-examine Kinder Morgan, but Kinder Morgan is able to ask questions of First Nations on their oral traditional evidence. Then we learn that limits and strict timelines will be placed on the oral evidence to be given by First Nations. This process is a farce and in no way can discharge the Crown’s duty to consult First Nations. It is clear that the NEB is just going through the motions before recommending approval” says Chief Ian Campbell.
The Squamish Nation is opposed to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and, along with other intervenors, has objected to the circumscribed hearing process. The National Energy Board has refused to amend the hearing process for the Project, despite its inadequacy even in comparison to the Northern Gateway review. The National Energy Board is currently considering a motion by First Nations to move the time for the giving of oral traditional evidence until after the close of the fishing season.
About Squamish Nation
Composed of more than 3800 Members, the Squamish Nation is comprised of descendants of the Coast Salish Aboriginal peoples who lived in the present day greater Vancouver area, Gibson’s landing and the Squamish River watershed.
For more information contact:
Squamish Nation Communications Department