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Gulf spill hardens BC First Nations opposition to Enbridge tar sands pipeline

A press release issued by the Wet'suwet'en and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council matter of factly declares “Enbridge's pipeline and tanker project to British Columbia's coast isn't going to happen” and says the oil rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico has fortified B.C. First Nations’ opposition to the project.

BC First Nations took that message into a meeting of Enbridge Inc. executives and shareholders today in Calgary.

“We're not going to risk oil spills into our rivers," Terry Teegee, Vice Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, is quoted in the release. "And the Aboriginal Title of our member Nations means that the decision is ours to make. We're hear to tell Enbridge, again, that the decision is No."

BC First Nations believe they have power to stop the pipeline based on the Delgamuukw/Gisdaywa decision and other court cases requiring their participation in making decision about land use and resource development projects.

“Oil spills on the land and waters are inevitable – it’s just a matter of time," the release quotes Namoks (John Ridsdale), a Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief from northwest BC. "All the state-of-the-art technology claimed by oil companies can never eliminate human error. We will oppose this pipeline project to protect our lands, and our waters."

The release notes that “On March 23rd, BC's Coastal First Nations alliance, representing all nine Nations affected by Enbridge's proposed tanker routes, publicly declared an outright ban on oil tankers through their territories.”

Members of environmental groups Dogwood Initiative and Forest Ethics joined the First Nations delegation in Calgary in support of their opposition to the proposed pipeline.

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.

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