Calls made to reject northwestern B.C. LNG site

Lelu Island west of Terrace B.C. too critical when it comes to Skeena River salmon, groups write in letters to Trudeau

A MEMBER of a local environmental group hopes the new federal Liberal government pays attention to a letter it sent calling for the rejection of a planned LNG export plant on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.

“I am feeling very optimistic about that,” says Christie Brown of Northwest Watch of the switch in Ottawa from the previous Conservative government. “It’s exciting to have a new party in power.”

The letter, written by Tsimshian hereditary chief Donald Wesley and signed by 70 people and groups including First Nations leaders, scientists and businesses, was sent in tandem with another one from United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union-Unifor saying a LNG plant on Lelu Island wanted by Pacific NorthWest LNG would be too harmful to young Skeena River salmon.

“The federal government has taken steps to reconcile with First Nations over the years,” Brown added. “And respecting the tribal-inherited properties is a huge part of reconciliation.”

The Tsimshian from Lax Kw’alaams have laid claim to the island and Wesley has been leading an occupation of the land and water there.

Over the past months, Brown has been visiting the island regularly and helping build a cultural camp there.

The sticking point for the project, which is one of 20 proposed for the BC coast, has been the alleged danger it represents to Skeena River salmon, 88 per cent of which seek refuge during their smolt stage in the fragile and rare eel grass habitat just off the island, according to study findings summarized in the letter.

The 365-day federal review was stalled at day 262 on June 2, as the Canadian Environmetnal Assessment Agency wanted more information about the effect that putting in a long pier over the eel grass and into open water would have in terms of erosion and depositions, which was a measure that Pacific NorthWest LNG said would protect the eel grass underneath.

The federal environmental agency says it is still waiting to hear back from the company with more information. After the 365 day period recommences, and wraps up after a minimum of 103 more days, then there would be another period of public consultation based on a draft version of the decision, said a statement from the federal environment ministry.

Brown said she has seen first hand some of the damage already happening to the eel grass from the drilling done by Pacific NorthWest LNG as part of this process.

“I have been out on Flora Bank and I have spent a lot of time on the water around Lelu Island, and I have seen eel grass floating around which has been uprooted from those drills,” she said.

Signatories to the Wesley letter include the “elected Lax Kw’alaams Band Council, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and leaders from Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Wet’suwe’ten, Tsimshian, Fort Nelson and Salteau First Nations, as well as Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Wade Davis, Dr. Alexandra Morton, and Dr. Barb Faggetter,” states the release from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

“From every corner of the province, we are all in agreement that Lelu Island and Flora Banks is the worst possible spot on the north coast to site an LNG facility,” said Greg Horne of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition in the same release.

The Wesley letter can be read at http://media.wix.com/ugd/6d9c86_5e67cf40765d428eb985c64dc76a024d.pdf and the one from Unifor at http://media.wix.com/ugd/6d9c86_96c6044768bd41c281dbe5e96941d95b.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

COLUMN | New year, new you: Make those changes stick

Wellness Matters by columnist Joelle McKiernan

Pilot project thins out overgrown forest location

Immediate and long term logging and environmental benefits eyed

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read