The Chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN), Sharleen Gale, recently visited Haida Gwaii to share FNFN's experience and concerns about the natural gas industry that is being promoted to revive British Columbia’s (B.C.) economy under its LNG strategy.
FNFN is a Treaty 8 nation in northeast B.C. that has been experiencing an unprecedented increase in natural gas exploration, drilling and fracking in their territory in recent years. As LNG terminals are being planned in Kitimat and the Prince Rupert area, the industry proposes a 600% increase in shale gas extraction in Fort Nelson territory, which would mean a dramatic increase in tanker traffic. This would also result in a surge in the dumping of ballast waters into Haida territorial waters.
In response to B.C.’s LNG strategy, the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) has been working with the Coastal First Nations to examine the potential cumulative impacts of LNG activities affecting the coastal zone.
While committed in opposition to oil tankers, the Haida Nation has opted not to take a formal position or consider any compensation for LNG without ensuring that the interests of the people at the source of the LNG are taken care of, and in this spirit the Haida Nation has offered political support to the people of Treaty 8. President Peter Lantin and Vice-president Trevor Russ have since made two visits to northeastern B.C. “It would be irresponsible for us to take a position without understanding the effects on the people most affected,” said Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation.
Conventional oil and gas has been extracted from Treaty 8 territories in B.C. for many years and FNFN has agreements with B.C. regarding oil and gas activity. FNFN people work in the oil and gas industry and there are economic benefits that come with the industry. The advent of unconventional shale gas, however, threatens to increase the pace and scale of the industry to unacceptable levels.
Chief Gale stated that while much of the lands have already been disturbed, her people still use and rely on the lands that remain for their cultural and spiritual well-being. If left unchecked, there could be no land available for the traditional and natural life in a few short years.
Adapted from press release by Callum O'Reilly
Read the article online at: https://www.lngindustry.com/liquefaction/10062014/fnfn_haida_gwaii_discuss_bc_lng_industry_735/