Canadian First Nations Battle Pipelines on Ground, in Court*

Canadian First Nations Battle Pipelines on Ground, in Court*

Indigenous leaders gather on Lelu island where the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation has set up camp to protest the construction of the Petronas LNG terminal. | Photo: Skeena Watershed Coalition


Salmon — an important source of food and culture for the Gitxsan First Nation — will be in danger.

The Gitxsan First Nation in Canada is blocking oil pipeline construction on two fronts, blocking construction of one on their territory and launching four lawsuits against another one that they argue would endanger its salmon, rest on an improper consent process and violate their fishing rights.

The Luutkudziiwus house of the Gitxsan Nation has been occupying a part of their territory since 2014 to prevent the construction of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, which they say did not consult the right people before approving the project.

Meanwhile, the US$36 billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility has been hit with four judicial reviews, including by the Gitanyow and Gitwilgyoots First Nations, to challenge the federal government’s approval of the project.

The site of the planned off-loading terminal has already been evaluated and deemed unsuitable for development, and it would threaten the Skeena watershed, which holds the second-largest salmon run, according to DeSmog Blog.Salmon — an important source of food and culture for the Gitxsan First Nation — will be in danger.

“If we do not have Lelu island, if we do not have the eelgrass, our salmon will not survive,”  Yvonne Lattie, one of the plaintiffs in the judicial review and member of the Gitxsan First Nation told DeSmog Blog.

“Lelu island is vital in the survival of the salmon and in the survival of the aboriginal people that live on the Skeena.”

They argue that since it’s their territory,

We have the right and ability to manage our own rights and resources, and they’re going to have to recognize that,” said Wright.

The First Nations have launched fundraisers and ran an event last week to cover legal fees, while the companies behind the pipeline have even been subsidized by the Canadian government., The Sierra Club will soon release a study on how the government of British Columbia has reduced corporate tax rates for LNG, bolstering the Gitxsan analysis of the interests behind the pipeline despite the limited economic gains it will bring.


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