NEWS RELEASE · 23rd January 2014
Fort Nelson First Nations
Fort Nelson, British Columbia – As politicians, industry executives, community leaders and delegates gather for the Premier’s BC Natural Resource Forum over the next two days to discuss the many anticipated opportunities resulting from resource projects planned for the North, Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) cautions the provincial government that the race for liquefied natural gas (LNG) development and its ensuing economic benefits are not a slam dunk.
“The provincial government’s LNG strategy is so focused on the thousands of potential jobs and billions of potential investment dollars that it fails to pay attention to the real risks uncontrolled resource extraction,” said Fort Nelson Chief Sharleen Gale. “Three of BC’s four big shale gas reserves – the Horn River, Liard and Cordova basins – are in our territory. So while BC talks about LNG opportunities, we are bracing for a 600 per cent increase in shale gas exploration, drilling and fracking over the next 25 years” Gale added.
Seismic cut lines already crisscross three quarters of the Horn River Basin. Aggressive seismic programs are underway in the Liard and Cordova basins as well. Should a modest number of LNG plants be built, the FNFN estimates that at least 3,000 new wells will be drilled and fracked over the next twenty years, mining millions of tonnes of frack sand from the land and withdrawing trillions of liters of water from the rivers. The environmental impacts will be severe and far-reaching.
“Our people and our territory will pay the ultimate price to fulfill BC’s LNG Strategy,” said Chief Gale. “We are told that British Columbians want this and so we are left with the environmental impacts and treaty infringements caused by shale gas production. If that is the case and British Columbians are okay with fracking, then FNFN must play a key role in defining what this development looks like and must share in the enormous economic benefits that southern BC is lining up for.”
The Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) is a Dene/Cree nation with roughly 800 members. The FNFN signed Treaty 8 in 1910; the treaty territory covers approximately 72,000 square kilometers bordering Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.