CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is requiring Coastal GasLink to consult with the Wet’suwet’en to update a technical report addressing pipeline impacts on the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment said despite the report’s shortcomings, CGL is authorized to continue pre-construction activities while it revises the document with Unist’ot’en input.

CGL was given 30 days to submit the revised draft.

Completion of the report was a condition of the company’s environmental assessment certification for the portion of the project that affects Unist’ot’en territory and a portion of Gidimt’en territory.

READ MORE: Unist’ot’en requesting Environmental Assessment Office withhold CGL construction permits

In January the Unist’ot’en formally requested the Environmental Assessment Office withhold final construction permits until the environmental, economic, social, heritage and health impacts on the healing centre were known and submitted.

On Wednesday the EAO released a letter agreeing on most Unist’ot’en concerns related to the healing centre’s economy, domestic water supply, and architectural sites.

However Dr. Karla Tait, a Unist’ot’en House Member, said in a release today she finds it distressing the Unist’ot’en will have to collaborate further with CGL and wants the province to take further action against the company.

“We identified the gaps in CGL’s report months ago, by letters and in person. Had the province intervened to confirm the reports’ shortcomings, they could have prevented the injunction enforcement, sparing us the violent removal from our lands and sparing the country the subsequent economic pressures of solidarity actions. The continued presence of the CGL and the RCMP in our territory is unlawful and this decision by EAO gives the province grounds to call for their immediate evacuation.”

READ MORE: Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Coastal GasLink could not be reached for comment. In January the company said it was committed to working with the Unist’ot’en to fulfill requirements needed by EAO.

“The environmental assessment certification was issued with a number of conditions, which have been satisfied with exception of certain work within the Morice River area as we were prevented accessing this area due to the previous blockade and we are working to satisfy the condition related to that area,” a CGL spokesperson said.

The Unist’ot’en Healing Center is an Indigenous-owned health facility and wilderness lodge with a strong focus on culture that requires a pristine water source, plants, medicines and wildlife.