Speed of engineering and construction is outpacing meaningful consultation with local First Nation.
HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Jan 21, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga'at First Nation is reacting to Chevron Canada's recent announcement of an EPC contract with Fluor Corporation and JGC, for the Kitimat LNG project in Bish Cove, British Columbia.
"We are disappointed that Chevron feels it can move forward with engineering, procurement and construction at a time when it has failed to consult meaningfully with our First Nation," says Clifton. "Chevron says that this is the most advanced of the proposed LNG projects in British Columbia but that is simply not the case when it comes to consulting with Gitga'at."
The 2006 Environmental Assessment process excluded the Gitga'at First Nation and consideration of any impacts in their territory. The Kitimat LNG Partnership was to have worked with Gitga'at to complete a full and comprehensive review of the project impacts on Gitga'at interests by the end of last year, but they have not even started that process with Gitga'at.
Gitga'at territory encompasses approximately 7,500 square kilometres of land and water, including a major portion of Douglas Channel, which is the route LNG carriers would have to travel to get to and from the LNG terminal in Kitimat. The LNG carriers will travel right by the Gitga'at home community of Hartley Bay, through traditional fishing grounds.
The EPC contract includes completion of the existing Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) as well as engineering and procurement services for the proposed initial phases of the Kitimat LNG project.
"Consultation with the Gitga'at is a legal requirement," said Chief Councillor Clifton. "There is no way that this project is at an 'advanced' stage when consultation with one of the most directly affected First Nations has yet to really get off the ground."
Map of Gitga'at territory (free for use by media): http://ow.ly/sMbcm
Gitga'at First Nation
WET'SUWET'EN TERRITORY, BROMAN LAKE, BC, Jan. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Wet'suwet'en First Nation respectfully warns Premier Clark to begin Crown Consultation immediately with the Wet'suwet'en on establishment of the new LNG export industry.
"Time is running out," said Chief Karen Ogen, "If Wet'suwet'en is to participate meaningfully in the LNG industry choices and plans for our aboriginal title lands, the BC government must provide us with the necessary information to begin Crown Consultation on the new LNG industry. Taking First Nations support for granted and treating consultation with Wet'suwet'en First Nation as an inconvenient after thought is not consultation in good faith."
In August 2013, the Wet'suwet'en First Nation wrote to Premier Clark requesting a meeting to begin Crown Consultation on the new LNG export industry. To date, the BC government has not responded to the Wet'suwet'en request.
"It is completely unacceptable to wait 5 months for a reply to a letter sent in good faith regarding this important matter," said Chief Karen Ogen, "While Wet'suwet'en has been forced to wait for Crown Consultation to begin, government and industry have been meeting behind closed doors to finalize high level decisions, fiscal arrangements and strategic plans for the new LNG export industry. It is widely expected that taxation, royalty, and regulatory legislation and initiatives for the new LNG industry will be introduced during the 2014 spring session of the Legislature."
"Wet'suwet'en people have taken our case to the Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark Delgamuukw case where the Court held that aboriginal title has an "inescapable economic component" and that choices about the use to which our aboriginal title lands will be put are the right of our community to make," said Chief Karen Ogen. "By proceeding unilaterally to develop a new industry on the backbone of our territory, the Province is running roughshod over those constitutional guarantees."
"We require meaningful prior consultation and a fair share of the estimated $9 billion in annual LNG revenues to rebuild the four pillars of our community and effectively address the poverty, social conditions and poor housing conditions faced on a daily basis by our members," said Chief Karen Ogen.
The BC Government has a variety of options to make time available for meaningful Crown Consultation. For example, Premier Clark could introduce LNG industry royalty, taxation and regulatory legislation and initiatives in the form of exposure bills and discussion papers in the Spring 2014 Session and then enact policy and legislation, after full and proper Crown Consultation, in Fall 2014.
"We have to get Crown Consultation right on a new LNG Industry which will impact First Nations lands, including Wet'suwet'en aboriginal title lands, for the next 30+ years," said Chief Karen Ogen. "If Premier Clark fails to provide the information we have requested by January 31st and begin meaningful Crown Consultation with Wet'suwet'en on the new LNG industry, then Wet'suwet'en First Nation will pursue the steps necessary to ensure that the Province fulfills its constitutional obligations."
Background Materials on Website:
August 9th, 2013 Letter to Premier
January 10th, 2014 Letter to Premier
Map of Wet'suwet'en First Nation Territory
The Wet'suwet'en First Nation Team
Wet'suwet'en First Nation Video - "Rebuilding the Four Pillars of our Community"
Remarks and Powerpoint of Chief Karen Ogen at 5th Northeast B.C. Natural Gas Summit
SOURCE Wet'suwet'en First Nation
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/01/20/20140120_C9687_DOC_EN_35696.pdf
For further information:
Chief Karen Ogen: 1-250-698-7307 or 1-250-251-2240