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Gitga'at First Nation challenges Pacific NorthWest LNG consultation process

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LNG Industry,

The Gitga'at First Nation (GFN), a tribe of the Tsimshian nation, has launched a legal challenge requesting judicial review of the B.C. government's handling of consultation when reviewing the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project. GFN claims that the government failed to consult meaningfully with them.

The proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG plant will be located near Prince Rupert. It recently received a conditional final investment decision by a consortium led by Malaysian energy company, Petronas. 

GFN is based in Hartley Bay, but two-thirds of the community lives in Prince Rupert. GFN’s judicial review request targets the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office’s decision, and takes issue with the fact that the B.C. government failed to recognise the Gitga'at First Nation as one of the Tsimshian First Nations that are entitled to full consultation on the project.

GFN is seeking the assistance of the court, to have Gitga'at added to the list of Tsimshian First Nations that are entitled to full consultation with the B.C. government on the LNG project. Christopher Devlin and Matthew Nefstead of Devlin Gailus Westaway Law Corp. will represent the tribe. 

Impacting the rights and livelihood of Gitga'at members

Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga'at First Nation, commented: "Anthropological evidence and our Adawx, which are the oral records of the Gitga'at, show that we have fished and hunted in Prince Rupert Harbour and the lower Skeena River since before the European settlers arrived.” He continued: “Prince Rupert Harbour is a large part of our social, cultural and economic life and proposed LNG developments would impact the rights and livelihood of every Gitga'at member."

Chief Clifton clarified: "The Prince Rupert harbour area and to the mouth of the Skeena River is an area of common use for all Tsimshian people. We just want Gitga'at rights recognised and considered the same way as those of the other Tsimshian tribes who assert Aboriginal rights in the Prince Rupert area."

Edited from press release by

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