NEWS RELEASE · 30th May 2010
Haisla & Gitga'at First Nation
Two days after Enbridge filed its application for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, over 500 northern B.C. residents gathered in Kitamaat Village to oppose the controversial plan, which would bring oil supertankers to the B.C. Coast.
“Every day more and more people, from all walks of life, are coming together to stop this dangerous project. They are sending a very clear message: Enbridge oil spills will not be allowed to destroy our territory,” said Gerald Amos, a Haisla Councillor and an organizer of the event.
In March, on the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Coastal First Nations declared that the Enbridge 1,170km twin pipeline project would not be allowed to bring tar sands oil through their territories. If built, the Northern Gateway Pipeline would carry tar sands crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat, and would bring over 225 oil tankers per year to B.C.'s North Coast.
“Today Coastal First Nations reaffirm our declaration that we will not allow tar sands oil to pass through our lands and waters. Enbridge pushing ahead with this project despite our declaration shows a lack of respect that will not be tolerated,” said Art Sterritt, executive Director of Coastal First Nations.
“The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is proud to stand in complete solidarity with all of the First Nations who are defending the integrity of their aboriginal title and rights from the environmental threats posed by the Northern Gateway Pipeline,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
The gathering, hosted by the Haisla and Gitga'at First Nations, brought together First Nations from B.C.'s coast and along the proposed pipeline route, as well as other northern residents and elected officials. Alaskan biologist Riki Ott and renowned broadcaster and conservationist Dr. David Suzuki were among the presenters.
At the event, the crowd sent a message to Enbridge in the form of a 16-foot billboard stating “We Say No to Enbridge Oil,” which they erected outside the gathering.
“Fish are very important to us – we are a fish eating people,” said Chief Larry Nooski of the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation. “We need to collectively stand up and say no to Enbridge. We don't want to see another oil spill. There have been too many.”
A group of 46 dancers from the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation are scheduled to close the event, after a dinner of traditional coastal foods.