Carrier Sekani Want Input - PG Free Press July 29th
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From: Paul Blom
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 9:22 PM
Subject: [TRA] Carrier Sekani Want Input - PG Free Press July 29th
Jul 29 2005
Carrier want input
The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council has sent a letter to Enbridge Pipelines Inc. requesting they stop all preliminary studies on their land until the parties sign a statement of understanding.
Enbridge is one of two companies examining the possibility of creating a gas pipeline from Edmonton to Prince Rupert or Kitimat to supply oil tankers heading to China.
The proposed $3.6 billion project would go through Bear Lake and Burns Lake, and just south of Fort St. James, Tumbler Ridge and Houston. The dual pipeline route, released by Enbridge earlier this week, can be viewed online at www.enbridge.com/gateway.
Carrier Sekani Chief Harry Pierre said although the council members appreciate the economic and employment benefits the pipeline could bring to their areas, they have some environmental concerns which need to be addressed.
"At the very top of the list of things we talked about was environmental safety. The pipeline goes close to some major rivers," Pierre said. "Really I don't think this land can afford any more damage."
Water quality and ecologies are a major concern already, he said. The tribal council has been involved in conservation projects to try to increase populations of sturgeon and salmon in the Nechako, Fraser and other rivers systems.
Cutting timber to clear a path for the pipeline could result in erosion and flooding, he added, which could cause further damage to already sensitive fish stocks.
It is important that all eight First Nations in the council stick together and speak with a single voice, Pierre said.
The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council wants to make sure they will continue to have input throughout construction and afterward during the operation of the pipeline, he added.
Enbridge vice-president of public and government affairs D'Arcy Levesque said the company is looking forward to meeting with the tribal council.
Enbridge standard procedure is to create a memorandum or statement of understanding with all First Nations and other effected communities near their pipelines, he added.
"Over the last three years we've met with 140 First Nations and Metis communities in B.C. and Alberta. We've had approximately 24 meetings with various members of the tribal council," Levesque said. "When you're talking to Aboriginal communities, they have a great deal of traditional knowledge we hope they can share with our field workers."
Enbridge is committed to making sure some of the approximately 2,000 construction jobs involved in the project will come from local First Nations communities and is ready to partner with local communities on economic development initiatives.
Currently field crews of two to six are doing some of the initial surveying and other work needed for the next level of planning and environmental assessments, he added.
Enbridge hopes to file their proposal with the National Energy Board in the spring of 2006 and have their environmental impact study complete later that year.
If all goes as planned, Levesque said, regulatory hearings could begin in early 2007 and construction could start as soon as 2008. The project is slated to be operational sometime in 2010.
© Copyright 2005 Prince George Free Press
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