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Nisga'a sign agreement to examine offshore oil

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  • Don Bain
    fyi ============================== Nisga a sign agreement to examine offshore oil By ROD LINK
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
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      Nisga'a sign agreement to examine offshore oil

      By ROD LINK

      Posted on Jan 26 2005

      THIS NISGA'A LISIMS Government is to become an active partner with the provincial government in any discussions surrounding offshore oil and gas development in its treaty area.
      Its involvement will include everything from environmental studies in advance of any exploration decision to regulation, management, royalty and taxation provisions finding any oil and gas lead to actual production.
      The broad strokes were set out in a protocol signed here in Terrace Jan. 22 by Nisga'a president Nelson Leeson and provincial energy minister Richard Neufeld.
      It is the first such agreement to be signed between the province and any other government, native or otherwise, concerning offshore development potential.
      The province has, however, provided research grants and other monies to native and other groups for work tied to offshore oil and gas but nothing as extensive as what is covered in the protocol.
      The basis for the protocol stems from the land claims treaty between the Nisga'a and provincial and federal governments that was finalized in 2000.
      It is the only modern treaty of its type and extensively covers exploration and development issues.
      A Lisims government submission to a federal task force reviewing offshore oil and gas last year stressed the importance of recognizing the Nisga'a treaty conditions regarding economic development and environmental protection.
      In fact, the Lisims government asked the federal government for more than $5.5 million for a multi-year plan to participate in environmental assessment studies.
      No monetary figures are contained within the protocol agreement for any of the activities that will occur, but it does indicate there will be negotiations for "contributions to provide funding to the Nisga'a Nation to assist the Nisga'a Nation ....."
      One key area of the protocol agreement is developing and then providing information on the implications of offshore oil and gas.
      The protocol signing comes at a time when the federal government appears to have backed off from any move to lift its moratorium on exploration.
      That's disappointed the provincial government, but provincial energy minister Richard Neufeld said it is proceeding on is own plans that could lead to lifting its own moratorium.
      There's great interest in offshore oil and gas with some experts indicating revenues could touch $110 billion.

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