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PRGT signs project agreement with Gitxsan hereditary chiefs

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TransCanada Corp. has announced that its Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project (PRGT) has signed a project agreement with 12 hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation, outlining economic and employment benefits, as well as other commitments, that will be provided as long as the project is in service.

The proposed pipeline will stretch for 900 km and deliver gas from a point near Hudson’s Hope to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) facility at Lelu Island, off the coast of Port Edward, near Prince Rupert, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada.

Each hereditary chief represents a Wilp (house group) that the project route will affect. Hereditary Chief Geel (Catherine Blackstock) said: “I envision this as a great opportunity for all Gitxsan and community people to revitalise employment in our economically depressed upper Skeena region."

Tony Palmer, President of PRGT, added: “This agreement is the product of our engagement with the Gitxsan hereditary leadership. This comprehensive agreement provides long-term economic benefits, jobs, contracting opportunities and information sharing throughout the life of the project.

"A lot of hard work and compromise went into this agreement, and it reflects our desire to work cooperatively with the Gitxsan.”

Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Luutkudziiwus (Gordon Sebastian) said: “The Supreme Court of Canada's 1997 Delgamuukw decision affirmed that each Gitxsan Wilp (house group) has jurisdiction over its Lax Yip (the Wilp's traditional territory) in accordance with the Ayookim Gitxsan (Gitxsan Law); each Wilp has the authority and power to make decisions as it sees fit for the good of the Wilp. As such, the 12 Hereditary Chiefs bargained hard with PRGT to ensure that the environment is protected, and that the agreement provides for long-term benefits to each of the affected Wilp and to the broader Gitxsan Nation.”

PRGT has now announced 13 project agreements with First Nations in B.C., including with: Blueberry River First Nations, Doig River, Gitanyow, Halfway River, Kitselas First Nation, Lake Babine Nation, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Nisga'a Lisims Government, Takla Lake First Nation, Tl'azt'en Nation and Yekooche First Nation.

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