Media Advisory from the Gitga’at First Nation:
The Enbridge proposal to ship oil from Alberta’s tarsands through the pristine territory of the Gitga’at First Nation has received another setback. During recent discussions, Enbridge president Pat Daniel and Northern Gateway Pipelines president John Carruthers heard a clear, candid and consistent message from the Gitga’at: “NO” and “NEVER”. Hereditary Chief, Ernie Hill Jr. told the CEOs, “You are welcome in our Territory as individuals, but your project is not”.
Carruthers made it clear they are in the pipeline business, not shipping. In other words, when a spill happens they are not responsible and don’t look to them for any fixes. Vessels ranging from cruise ship size to supertanker would be negotiating the treacherous waters where the Queen of the North went to the bottom. The Gitga’at are living with upwelling of hydrocarbons from the sunken ferry and worse is to come as the ship and vehicles decay within her, releasing toxic substances near traditional food gathering areas.
Mrs. Helen Clifton, Matriarch, said, “History has a way of repeating itself. Our experience with BC Ferries taught us many things – among the lessons, corporations do not act honourably. They put their responsibilities to care for the planet far behind their greed for profit. We must be vigilant”.
Gitga’at spokesman Cam Hill says of the pipeline and shipping project, “It’s all about risks and benefits. For the Gitga’at it’s all risk and no benefits, and for Enbridge it’s all benefits and no risk”.
If the Gitga’at territory is at risk so are all living things in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Enbridge faces public regulatory processes through the National Energy Board, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that First Nations must be consulted and accommodated, and that has not happened.
Enbridge, supported by other multinational oil giants, has embarked on a massive public relations campaign touting the economic benefits of their project.
Mrs. Clifton said she was speaking for her grandchildren, when she said, “The balance of nature will be impacted. We have plans for our children. All of our plans have to do with being ecologically smart and environmentally friendly. There will be no future”.
For more information about the Gitga’at – www.gitgaat.net
Karen Romans, Gitga’at Information Officer
email: karenromans [at] me.com
Related articles on this issue can be found at:
- ‘70-Ft Banner: Tar Sands Undermines North America’s Clean Energy Future‘ (September 15, 2009)
- ‘B.C. Government Budget Cuts, Environmental Protection Impact‘ (September 2, 2009)
- ‘Whose Coast is it Anyway‘ (August 27, 2009)
- ‘ForestEthics Asked Clinton, State Dept, to Stop World’s Dirtiest Oil‘ (June 26, 2009)
- ‘Event Galvanizes Opposition to Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline‘ (June 12, 2009)
- ‘Metro Vancouver Ecological Plan to Save At-Risk Plant and Animal Species‘ (April 28, 2009)
- ‘Video Series: Threat of Tar Sands Tankers to B.C. Coastline‘ (January 12, 2009)