Nisga’a push back against pipeline plan

Some Nisga'a citizens are calling for greater government transparency in light of plans to run an LNG pipeline through the Nass Valley

  • Dec. 17, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Will Klatte videos a benefits signing agreement between the Nisga’a Lisims Government and the provincial government Nov. 27. A Nisga’a citizen

Will Klatte didn’t like what he was seeing on his computer one late November day while sitting in his Victoria, B.C. apartment.

He was streaming the provincial legislative channel, watching the passage of several bills setting out how the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) could tax liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines through Nisga’a lands and how construction of one pipeline, the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project (PRGT), would be better served by removing 60 hectares of land from the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park.

RELATED: Nisga’a ink major natural gas pipeline deal

“It was just maddening that both parties, including the opposition, were holding this up as such a great thing,” said Klatte, a Nisga’a student at the University of Victoria whose family lives in Kincolith and Greenville in the Nass Valley, 90 kilometres north of Terrace. “It’s held up as a grand success – and it is, it’s a grand success for the project, it’s a grand success for the province, it’s a success for Canada, and if it’s going to be a success for the Nisga’a people, I’d be really, really surprised.”

Watching the proceedings wrap up, Klatte left his suite and walked the short 10 minutes to the legislature buildings where, he says, two security guards conveniently pointed him in the direction of a small room where provincial and Nisga’a officials were to sign agreements that would provide the Nisga’a with nearly $6 million and a share of ongoing benefits should a pipeline through  Nisga’a lands actually be built.

Apparently fitting right in, no one questioned him while he was waiting with Nisga’a officials and others before the group was let into the room.

“I didn’t really realize it was going to be all of the Nisga’a brass there,” he said, of the moment he saw NLG president Mitchell Stevens. “I just kind of stood there and acted like I was supposed to be there and supposed to be waiting, and nobody said anything to me, and then I just waited until they were all seated and that’s when the video starts.”

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