Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pacific NorthWest LNG faces new legal challenge, as members of Gitxsan Nation launch legal proceedings

Hereditary chiefs from the Gitxsan Nation were at the Vancouver Law Courts today, moving forward with their plans for a legal challenge to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Lelu Island.

Yvonne Lattie, Gitxsan Hereditary Chief of Wilp Gwininitxw from Vancouver participated in the media conference today, outlining the nature of the court challenge and delivering a simple message

“We have a message for the Pacific Northwest LNG project’s investors in Asia. Sell your stock. The Canadian government’s decision to approve this project did not respect our fishing rights protected under the Canadian Constitution. We were not consulted,”

Gitxsan hereditary leaders filed
a court challenge at the Vancouver
Court House related to the
Pacific NW LNG project today
Ms Lattie and Charlie Wright with the Luutkudziiwus house group, were the ones who made the filing at the Vancouver Court house this morning.

The main thrust of their court challenge is their belief that the gas export terminal is an infringement of their Aboriginal fishing rights.

They also expressed concerns about the Petronas/Pacific NorthWest project and the site selection in the salmon rearing habitat at Lelu Island and its impact on the "Skeena River Watershed where Gitxsan have fished in time immemorial."

The group has also noted that during the consultation period related to the project impacts, that the hereditary chief's were keen to participate, but were either offered grossly inadequate funding to give technical input, or were told they were not directly affected by the project.

Richard Wright, speaking on behalf of Charlie Wright, observed as to some of the political themes that the Gitsxan have taken note of,  following the September announcement that approved the Terminal project.

“This LNG project will be stopped. We don’t give a damn about Christy Clark’s re-election, Trudeau’s deal-making, or Petronas’ hopes to sell fracked gas. That terminal is bad news for our salmon up the Skeena River,”

Among those taking part in today's announcement was Donald Wesley, a hereditary leader from Lax Kw'alaams, who has been part of the group that has set up the camp on Lelu Island, that camp which was first established in the summer of 2015 calls attention to their opposition to the location as a site for LNG development.

The full text of their media session today following the court filing can be reviewed here.

The latest legal challenge to the proposed development highlights the nature of a split in the region, with the prospect of LNG development and transmission of gas to Prince Rupert making for a significant discussion topic in the Gitxsan territory.

In November some members of the Gitxsan Hereditary leadership signed a project agreement with TransCanada pipelines that covered a range of issues related to access to the Gitxsan territory for the cross province pipeline.

Other First Nation communities across the province have also signed similar agreements in recent months, though even in those communities there are differing opinions on the prospect of LNG development.

Today's legal challenge by the Gitsxan Hereditary Chiefs, will now join two others that were launched by the Gitwilgyoots and Gitanyow who both expressed their opposition to the Pacific NorthWest Plans in October, seeking to overturn the federal government's September approval of the proposed development.

As well, there is a fourth legal challenge in motion, that put forward by the Skeena Watershed Coalition.

All of the previous legal challenges are alleging that the government did not provide for proper consultation.

Some background on the two views related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project found in First Nations communities whether inland or on the coast, as well as from other communities across the region can be found from some of the work of  Discourse Media.

That media organization has examined the issue in detail and offers up some background through a thumbnail guide found here

That item is part of the follow up to their work on the Pacific Northwest story of last summer.

Discourse media has created a Northwest Map highlighting the range of
opinion when it comes to support or concerns related to the Pacific NorthWest
LNG project proposed for Lelu Island

Some media notes related to today's developments can be found below:

January 10 -- Two Gixsan chiefs seek to block Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal construction
January 10 -- Fourth lawsuit launched against BC LNG propane project
January 10 -- B.C. First Nation launches legal challenge against Pacific NorthWest LNG project
January 10 -- B.C. First Nation launches court challenge against LNG approval
January 10 -- Gitxsan First nation to launch litigation on Pacific NorthWest LNG
January 10 -- B.C. First Nation expected to launch court challenge of LNG approval
January 10 -- Gitxsan members file for judicial review of PNW LNG project (audio)
January 10 -- Gitxsan launch legal challenge over LNG project on Lelu
January 10 -- More court challenges of B.C. LNG project expected
January 9 -- Gitxsan House Groups to file litigation against PNW LNG approval in Court Tuesday

You can review our archive of information related to the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal here.

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