THE KITSELAS First Nation won’t be deciding to oppose or support Enbridge’s planned Northern Gateway pipeline project until it finishes analyzing the $5.5 billion plan.
“The Kitselas [stewardship] policy requires us to do an independent analysis of the impacts and benefits associated with any new or revised use of lands and resources in our territory” said Kitselas chief councillor Judy Gerow in a statement today.
“We are in the middle of that analysis and expect it to be completed by the end of 2012. Once complete, elected council and the community will consider the conclusions and recommendations and make a final decision on the proposed project.”
The first nation’s natural resource department will present oral evidence tomorrow when the federal panel reviewing the project meets at the Terrace Sportsplex beginning at 1 pm.
The Kitsumkalum First Nation and the Metis are also scheduled to speak.
Gerow described the Northern Gateway project as “incredibly polarizing.”
“Many First Nations, communities, organizations and interested individuals have decided to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline project. It is hard to see how the benefits to Kitselas and those who live in our traditional territory can possibly outweigh the risks. Clearly the oil companies and the governments who collect revenues and taxes benefit from this project while the people of the north and north coast bear all the risks,” she said.
The Northern Gateway pipeline, if built, would be approximately 1,100 kilometres long and the Kitselas say approximately 10 per cent of the pipeline’s footprint falls within their traditional territory.
The Kitselas territory is also the area where Enbridge proposes to tunnel through Clore and Hoult Mountains.