Friday, August 7, 2015

First Nations study and published letter in Science journal adds to the ongoing debate over Lelu Island LNG site

A letter published in the magazine
Science outlines concerns over the selection
of Lelu island for development
While the CEAA continues on with its review of the application by Pacific NorthWest LNG for an LNG terminal site at Lelu Island, a letter published yesterday by a number of Northwest First Nations  to a Scientific journal adds to the list of submissions highlighting concerns over the site in question.

Based in part on a recent study from Allen Gottesfeld, the head scientist for the Skeena Fisheries Commission the letter to Science, highlights the concerns that some First Nations of inland areas of British Columbia have with the proposed terminal development in the vicinity of the feeding ground for juvenile salmon.

Calling the industrialization of the Flora Banks area a prospect that could have an impact on fisheries further upstream into Northern British Columbia, the examination of the process of overview on the issue has been called a troubling blind spot when it comes to Canada's environmental decision making.

The letter related to Lelu Island
appears in the August edition of
Science Magazine
The published letter goes by the title of Selling First Nations down the river, and is authored by Jonathan W. Moore, Charmaine Carr-Harris, Allen S. Gottesfeld, Donna MacIntyre, David Radies, Mark Cleveland, Chris Barnes, Walter Joseph, Glen Williams, Jennifer Gordon, and Bill Shepert, notice of its publication appears in the index of the August 7th edition of Science.

Access to the document requires the purchase of a subscription to the publication, or the purchase of access to the article for one day for 20 dollars.

Fortunately for those of us that may not have the spare change of an academic for a subscription to Science, yesterday's notes on the letter has attracted a bit of attention from the media, some of the items of interest on the theme can be found below.

Proposed LNG plant near Prince Rupert on doorstep of important salmon estuary
BC's LNG project poses threat to slamming habitat: study

A coalition of Inland First Nations
have outlined their concern over
lack of consultation from the
Lulu Island process
Among some of the review noted in that coverage is the observation that at least five First Nations had not been consulted in the planning process for the proposed LNG terminal, many of them dependent on the fishery.

Those inland communities state that their research has found that should the project go ahead, that there would be damage to the ecosystem, including impact on spawning locations upstream.

The Skeena Fisheries Commission currently includes representation from the Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Wet’suwet’en, and Lake Babine Nations.

The concerns over Lelu Island are not new, as we outlined on the blog in November of 2014,  the four Northern Interior First nations outlined the lack of consultation in the process at a Vancouver conference. At that time, they cited "concrete scientific evidence" to back their claims of concern over the Lelu Island estuary.

The CEAA has not as of yet completed the Environmental Assessment process currently underway regarding the Pacific NorthWest project, it's anticipated that the process will come to an end sometime in the fall.

More background on previous notes related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project can be reviewed from our archive page.

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