Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Nations leaders sign letter calling for Eagle Spirit energy corridor across their territories

The push forward by Eagle Spirit Energy to develop an oil pipeline to a proposed shipment terminal at Grassy Point received a bit of momentum this week.

As a number of elected and hereditary chiefs have signed on to a letter signalling their support for the proposed project, addressing their comments to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as Saskatchewan's Premier Brad Wall, Alberta's Premier Rachel Notley and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

The letter, dated September 29th,  highlights a number of points related to the proposed oil pipeline, including the aspect of consultation that they say Eagle Spirit Energy has engaged in with the communities across Alberta and British Columbia.

Among the items that those who signed the document noted as key to their support were the responsive model for development that was developed that would provide appropriate consultation, enhanced land and marine environmental protections, and fair compensation for the Province of British Columbia, First Nations, and northern communities.

The letter also outlined how the energy corridor would provide economic access to resources from all of Canada's Western provinces, while offering revenue generation, employment, education and training opportunities for their communities and members.

Towards that process, some of the First Nations represented by the group have already signed exclusivity and benefits agreements, as well as non-disclosure agreements covering the traditional territories the pipelines would cross.

You can review the full document below (click to enlarge)

Page one of a correspondence
from supporters of the Eagle
Spirit Energy pipeline proposal 
Page two of a correspondence
from supporters of the Eagle
Spirit Energy pipeline proposal 

The full listing of the signatories to the document can be found from pages 2 to 7 following the text.

The letter to the politicians was described as historic in a media release from Eagle Spirit Energy, with Wesley Sam, the Chiefs' Council Representative for the First Nations on the Eagle Spirit Pipeline observing that, "it is the first time that First Nations have come together with a resolution like this".

Alex Campbell, noted in the media release as the Hereditary Chief of Lax Kw'alaams signed on from the North Coast, observing how the proposed project fits into the province of British Columbia's guidelines for pipeline development "We fully support Premier Clark's five conditions for a pipeline which include safeguarding our environment and meeting the legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights"

However, while the Hereditary Chief may be on board with Eagle Spirit Energy, there is still little indication that the elected Council in Lax Kw'alaams has changed its stance related to the project.

The last comments made public from Lax Kw'allams related to Eagle Spirit Energy came back in June, when Mayor Gary Reece speaking to the CBC program Daybreak North, outlined the position of his Council on the proposed pipeline and Terminal project to Grassy Point, noting that the proponents "would require the approval of the entire community and not just a few representatives."

Those comments produced a response from supporters of the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal , which seems to have suggested that the Mayor and Council were out of touch with their membership on the issue.

Since the summer, other than a letter to the editor of the weekly paper on June 10th, there has been no further update provided through the Lax Kw'alaams information flow suggesting that any change of mind related to the Eagle Spirit plan has been made.

You can review some of the background to the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal from our archive page here.

See our Lax Kw'alaams archive page, for an overview of the current state of discussion in in the First Nations Community on a range of energy proposals in the region.

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