HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Dec. 19, 2013) – The Gitga’at First Nation is disappointed in the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation on the Northern Gateway project, but is hopeful the Federal government will reject the project as inconsistent with its constitutional and international legal obligations to respect the rights of Aboriginal peoples and in the interest of building positive relationships with the Gitga’at and other BC First Nations.
“We are disappointed in the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation,” said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councilor and Hereditary Chief of the Gitga’at First Nation. “We presented solid evidence to the Joint Review Panel of the severe and irreversible harm that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers project would bring to our territory, resources, and way of life.”
The Gitga’at say that if the Federal government is serious about improving its relationship with First Nations in British Columbia, then it will consider the wider legal and political implications and reject the pipeline.
“The Eyford report was clear in what is at risk if the Federal government fails to build trusting relationships with First Nations in British Columbia,” said Clifton. “We are still hopeful that they will see the merit of stopping this project due to the significant impacts that oil tankers would have on the Gitga’at people’s rights and way of life, and the risks this project would pose to other First Nations along the proposed pipeline and tanker route.”
Over the next week, the Gitga’at First Nation will meet internally to discuss the panel’s conclusions and the extent that Gitga’at evidence was considered, at which time it will be in a better position to communicate its next steps.
“The JRP’s recommendation is by no means the final say on this project,” said Clifton. “All tankers en route to Kitimat must pass through our territory and we will continue to protect our resources and culture from the severe damage this project would cause. All options are on the table.”