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Coastal First Nations slam Enbridge for lack of consultation at JRP hearings

Date: 
September 19, 2012

 (Vancouver, Sept. 19, 2012) – The Coastal First Nations says consultation on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Project has been an utter failure.

Art Sterritt, the executive director of Coastal First Nations, said the Federal Government is relying largely on the pathetic efforts of Enbridge to consult with First Nations.  “There has been a lack of proper and adequate consultation with us to learn what our concerns are with the project and its potential impacts on our member First Nations.”

Enbridge has steadfastly refused to provide sufficient information to our many requests on the feasibility of safety measures related to its proposed project, Sterritt said. “We are surprised by Enbridge’s responses and are particularly concerned with how Enbridge continues to downplay the risks of spills in their cost benefit analysis.  Their numbers defy common sense and are inconsistent with Enbridge's poor track record.”

The economic concerns about Northern Gateway project have been ignored, he said. “Our review of Enbridge’s economic analysis of the project doesn’t meet its objective of using caution in its estimate of costs and benefits. When the risks and uncertainties are included, our findings show that the costs of the project exceed the benefits and isn’t in the public interest.”

Sterritt said Canada, the JRP and Enbridge could all learn a valuable lesson from one of the recommendations made by Justice Thomas Berger in the final report “Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland” on the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline Inquiry in 1977.  “Justice Berger wanted the rights of Aboriginal people in the North and the impacts of the proposed pipeline on them be taken into account before a decision was made about the project.”

British Columbia’s coast is a unique and complex series of ecosystems that the Coastal First Nations have a responsibility to protect and preserve for future generations, he said. “The proposed project poses an unacceptable risk to our people and to our communities.”

The Coastal First Nations urges Enbridge, the Federal Government and the JRP to stop the review process to allow for meaningful consultation before any regulatory decisions are made, Sterritt said. “It is within such a context that discussions could take place to allow for the redesigning of the project; stopping the project from moving ahead until proper consultation has taken place and allow our Marine Use Planning processes with Canada and British Columbia to be completed so it can be used to inform decisions related to this project.”

The Coastal First Nations are an alliance of First Nations that includes the Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation working together to create a sustainable economy on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.

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For more information contact:

Art Sterritt

Executive Director, Coastal First Nations

604-868-9110

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