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Heiltsuk Nation responds to Federal Government decision on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline Project
(June 17, 2014, Bella Bella) The Federal Government’s decision to approve with conditions Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project isn’t surprising, says Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett.
The Heiltsuk didn’t expect Canada to reject the Northern Gateway Pipeline (NGP) despite the many deficiencies related to the risky project, said Chief Marilyn Slett. “The government has been clear from the beginning that the project will go ahead without First Nations support, without social licence or without having to address issues such as “world-class” oil spill technology.”
The Heiltsuk will continue to oppose the NGP project. “This decision represents the end of another round in a long fight to protect our lands, waters and resources. We will not back down.”
“This approval goes against the report by James Anaya the former UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and completely undermines the reconciliation process agreed to by Canada with the Heiltsuk Nation, as we attempt to reconcile our commercial aboriginal right” says Hereditary Chief Harvey Humchitt.
The Heiltsuk position on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project has always been clear and consistent, said Hereditary Chief Edwin Newman. “Our coastline is not for sale to big oil, no matter how much money is on the table. There are thousands of British Columbians and Canadians who feel the same way, and who will stand with us to stop this dangerous project.”
“We are not anti-development because like other British Columbians and Canadians we do need and want jobs, income security, training, education, improved health, better housing, and other benefits and opportunities for our communities and families,” said Chief Slett. “But at the same time, we won’t support development at all costs, including the negative impacts against on our environment and wildlife that are so central to our cultural, social, and economic well-being.”
“People need to understand that the Heiltsuk approach to resource development is a practical one where we consider and balance all the risks and opportunities that each development brings with it,” Slett said. “The development of natural resources doesn’t have to be harmful or unjust. The future of natural resource development is a part of all our common future, and First Nations have a right not only to benefit from this, but also to help determine its path.”
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Chief Marilyn Slett