Organizers Anticipating One Of Largest Anti-Enbridge Rallies
Opponents to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline rally in Fort St James on Thursday photo submitted
Prince George, BC – As many as 2,000 people are expected to participate in what’s expected to be one of the largest rallies against Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project hosted by the Gitga’at Nation in Prince Rupert later this morning…
The day-long event runs from 11am until midnight, starting with a parade from Mariner’s Park to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre, and will feature local First Nations, some environmental heavy-hitters from across North America and musical performances by the likes of rocker Bif Naked and jazz pianist Murrary Porter.
Marven Robinson, a Councillor from nearby Hartley Bay, says, "We have organized this event to tell our young people that oil tankers and pipelines are a direct threat to our way of life."
Enbridge’s $5.5-billion dollar project consists of plans to run a dual-pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, where it would be exported via oil super tankers. In 2006, the BC Ferry ‘Queen of the North’ sank near the island community of Hartley Bay, which, Robinson says, is still releasing toxins into the environment that is fouling shellfish beds and harming fishing grounds.
"We’ve already experienced an oil spill," he says. "And that was nothing compared to what would happen with a super tanker in the narrow waters of Douglas Channel."
"Our people speak with one voice against the Enbridge project: the risk is not acceptable."
On Thursday, approximately 100 members of the Nak’azdli First Nation, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council marched in opposition to the project in Fort St. James, in prelude to a Joint Review Panel public hearing in the community.
CSTC Chief David Luggi says it was a powerful statement to have so many turn out to the FSJ rally, but the participants did not attend the hearing.
"We’ve taken the position right from the very start that the government appointed this panel – the members all worked for the oil companies in the past," says Luggi. "So, number one: how are they going to evaluate the environment? It’s not their career, their career is to promote oil. Secondly, the terms of reference does not and cannot evaluate title and rights."
The Tribal Chief points out that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the environmental impacts of this project and that uncertainty is area First Nations’ power. He points to the Chilcotin First Nation’s concerns with Fish Lake and the Kemess Mine expansion proposed in Takla’s territory as examples. "In both cases, both tribes used the ‘power’ of uncertainty to stop the projects."
The Joint Review Panel will hold its hearings in Prince Rupert on February 17th and 18th. The panel is tasked with assessing the environmental impacts of the project and will issue a final report with its conclusions and recommendations to the federal government.