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For Immediate Release – September 10, 2010
Nadleh Whut’en Territory (Fraser Lake, BC, Canada) – Enbridge Inc. has suffered another blow to its credibility that it is capable of maintaining its pipelines. On Thursday afternoon Enbridge had to shut down its Line 6A oil pipeline that leaked in Romeoville, near Chicago, Illinois.
It happened on the same day that First Nations and northern BC citizens rallied against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project in Prince George, BC, which is being reviewed by a government review process that has no merit, support or inclusion from indigenous peoples in Canada. It also occurred while U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was meeting with First Nations leaders, environmentalists, politicians and oil lobbyists to discuss the oil sands.
“This most recent pipeline leak is the nail in the coffin for the Northern Gateway Pipelines project”, voiced Chief Larry Nooski of the Nadleh Whut’en. He also noted, “This is exactly what we’ve been saying to everyone. We don’t want our children to have to clean up our mess. We want relevant and appropriate development in our territories. Enbridge and the government of Canada do not have the consent of the indigenous title holders to the land, therefore there will be no pipeline.”
Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation said, “Our people don’t want the risks from a pipeline filled with toxic tar sands crude. We’d rather risk not having vehicles to drive, then to risk destroying our rivers that feed us.”
This most recent pipeline leak occurred in an urbanized, industrial area surrounded by emergency services and equipment. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines would be buried under 1 meter of dirt, cross over 700 water courses, and transect 2 mountainous sections, all of which are in an extremely rugged and rural region. First Nations and northern BC residents have come together to tell politicians, Enbridge and other concerned Canadians that the dirty, toxic oil transported through our communities is not the economic development we need.
“We’re never going to get into a low-carbon, green economy if we don’t start changing how we plan for the future,” said Chief Dolly Abraham of the Takla Lake First Nation. “It’s like we’ve said to mining companies, we will not allow certain types of practices in our ancestral lands. Killing freshwater lakes is not an option. Threatening our rivers, valleys and watersheds with tar sands crude is not an option.”
A recent study completed by the Polaris Institute estimates that Enbridge pipelines have spilled over 20 million litres of oil between 1999 and 2008 in Canada and the US. These inevitable spills and leaks are what the 5 Carrier Sekani communities want to never see in their homelands.
“What we are fighting for is a form of local, regional governance that we have been practicing since time immemorial,” noted Chief Fred Sam of the Nak’azdli Whut’en. “We have boycotted the Joint Panel Review because it is illegal. It is not a transparent, fair or inclusive process. Indigenous peoples were not part of this review process, nor do we want to be. It is a rubber stamp process to make people think that the federal government cares about what happens in northern BC, in Dakelh territory.”
“Enbridge is busted. We stand united, shaking our heads at the new oil spill in Illinois,” said Chief Karen Ogen of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. “It’s sad really, really, really sad. I hope more people in northern BC see the light and join us in building a strong local economy that doesn’t include destroying the environment we all depend on.”
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For More Information Contact:
Vice Tribal Chief Terry Teegee, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (250) 640-3256
Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, Interim Enbridge Coordinator, 5 Nation Interior Alliance at email@example.com, (250) 570-1482