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Gitxaala among groups filing suit over Enbridge Northern Gateway

The rush to the court room has begun as four groups are looking to block the federal government from approving the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Gitxaala Nation of Kitkatla, the Haisla Nation of Kitamaat, EcoJustice Lawyers on behalf of ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and all filed appeals with the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver last week.

The suit filed by the Gitxaala claims the Joint Review Panel (JRP) ignored issues surrounding aboriginal rights and title. The band claims that the approval flies in the face of more than 7,500 pages of documentary evidence, a 320 page submission and experts the band submitted in opposition to the project during the review.

"The JRP had a responsibility to take our concerns seriously, but it didn't," said acting Gitxaala Chief Clarence Innis.

"Gitxaala were given the opportunity to speak, but were not heard," said Rosanne Kyle, lawyer for the Gitxaala Nation.

A spokesperson for Enbridge Northern Gateway said the court filings are premature.

"Northern Gateway is confident in the integrity of the Joint Review Panel process and report.  Its recommendations and conditions are based on science and the input of experts," said Ivan Giesbrecht.

"As part of the legal process, organizations and individuals have 30 days to appeal a decision of any federal board or tribunal. Today's filing from various environmental groups did not come as a surprise to us. It is an expected part of the process."

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