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Metlakatla First Nation signs two pipeline benefits agreements

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LNG Industry,

Metlakatla First Nation has signed two pipeline agreements with the provincial government regarding the benefits it will receive from the LNG industry in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. Specifically, the agreements relate to the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project – a proposed project by TransCanada – and the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline – a proposed project by Spectra. The benefits will include improving the First Nations’ access to skills training, as well as environmental stewardship projects.

The Chief councillor, Metlakatla First Nation, Harold Leighton, said: “It is important that we have a voice in developing industries in our territory. This kind of benefits agreements gives us that voice and offers us the opportunity to move forward in partnership with government and with business in a way that benefits everyone.”

The Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad, said: “Congratulations to Chief Councillor Leighton and all members of the Metlakatla First Nation for reaching this agreement. They are so often at the forefront of new projects and I applaud their vision and their drive to bring new opportunities to their community.”

Regarding the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line, an initial sum of CAN$430 000 has been paid to Metlakatla First Nation. Two further, separate payments of over CAN$1 million are to be paid once construction is underway and when the pipeline begins service.

Regarding the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission project, the First Nation has been paid an initial sum of CAN$390 000. CAN$975 000 would then be paid as construction commences, and a second, equal amount once the line actually begins service. In addition to this, CAN$10 million/yr in ongoing benefits would be paid to First Nations along both natural gas pipeline routes.

The B.C. government has also committed CAN$9 million over three years with the Tsimshian Roundtable – an alliance formed of six Tsimshian First Nations. Through the agreement, further skills training is provided by the government. Metlaktla members of the Tsimshian Roundtable will benefit from this funding.

The Minister of Natural Gas Development, Rich Coleman, said: “Pursuing partnerships with First Nations as a means of creating jobs and providing a future for communities is the way to success in British Columbia. Benefits agreements are a good way for our LNG industry to develop in a manner that supports First Nations, our partners and all British Columbians.”

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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