Most residents near Prince George, B.C. were allowed back into their homes a gas pipeline rupture near Prince George on Oct. 9, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C. First Nation near pipeline explosion takes Enbridge to court

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation near Prince George wants to stop pipeline operation in their territory

A B.C. First Nation near the explosion of a natural gas transmission pipeline owned by Enbridge has filed a lawsuit against the energy company.

Chief Dominic Frederick of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation near Prince George said their B.C. Supreme Court civil lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction preventing Enbridge from operating the pipeline in their territory and reserves.

“The explosion has breached the Lheidli T’enneh’s trust and confidence in Enbridge to deliver safe and reliable energy through its reserve and traditional territory,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Other pipelines running parallel, including an oil pipeline, could also have caught fire and exploded, he said.

None of the allegations has been proven in court and Enbridge has not yet filed a statement of defence.

On Oct. 9, an explosion and fire occurred in a pipeline that provides natural gas to about 1.5 million customers in B.C., Washington state and Oregon.

Frederick said the incident unleashed a massive fireball, the heat and ash from which was felt by members living near the site of the explosion. It also produced ground vibrations rattling windows in nearby homes and the band office over two kilometres away, he said.

“We are not opposed to industrial activity in the energy sector but we are opposed to unsafe transportation of hydrocarbons. We shouldn’t be a distant afterthought to Enbridge post-explosion. Our lives matter.”

The lawsuit also seeks a mandatory injunction requiring the company to immediately dismantle and remove the pipeline from the First Nation territory and reserves, and restore the lands to their natural state.

It asks for damages for nuisance, trespass and negligence, and a declaration that the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation “has never been consulted, or alternatively, adequately consulted, with respect to the construction, operation, repair or return to service of the pipeline.”

Enbridge said in a statement that it’s not in the public interest to stop operating a critical piece of energy infrastructure that millions of people in B.C. and the U.S. Pacific Northwest rely on every day.

The company has undertaken a rigorous inspection of their natural gas pipeline system in B.C. since the blast, it said.

Enbridge is committed to fostering a strengthened relationship with Indigenous communities, including the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, which is built upon openness, respect and mutual trust, it said.

“We notified the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation of the pipeline incident within nine minutes and immediately began to provide the community with support,” it said in the statement, adding Enbridge CEO Al Monaco has been in contact with Frederick to negotiate a settlement and an agreement.

Enbridge spokeswoman Tracie Kenyon said the incident is still being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Terrace creates bylaw framework for ride-hailing

No ride-hailing announced yet for region, but may be coming soon

BC Hydro building extension almost complete

Extension will serve as a heated parking space for vehicles

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Northern Women’s Recovery House Society calls for public engagement

Society aims to plans to bring the first women’s recovery house to northern B.C.

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Most Read