Gitxaala going to court over exclusion from Enbridge Termpol review process

The Gitxaala filed a judicial review application in Federal Court challenging a decision not to let them be part of the Termpol review.

Early last week, the Gitxaala Nation filed a judicial review application in Federal Court challenging the federal government’s decision to not let Kitkatla be part of what they consider to be a “critical component” of the government’s review of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

The component the Gitxaala Nation is referring to is the Termpol Review Process. This procedure is a review and assess of the proposed shipping route and marine terminal facilities of the Northern Gateway Project started by Transport Canada to evaluate marine terminal operations, vessel routing and other marine safety

issues.

For the process, Enbridge invited representatives from local governments, environmental groups, and Aboriginals to participate in a Quantative Risk Assessment (QRA) to evaluate the marine operational components of the project. The QRA working group was then formed to allow partakers to provide advice on a number of marine-related aspects of the Northern Gateway Project.

When Kitkatla requested to be part of the Termpol Review Process, the nation was rejected by Transport Canada, even though the potential twin pipeline would cross into the Gitaxaala’s land with oil and condensate tankers crossing through the heart of the Territory.

“Virtually all Gitxaala, on reserve and off, rely on marine resource harvesting.  Marine resource harvesting is in an essential part of our culture.  Our culture, spirituality, and governance structure are eternally and profoundly linked to our territory and resources within our territory,” stated Gitxaala Chief Elmer Moody.

“The inability to harvest marine resources as a result of increased tanker traffic or an oil spill would cause irreparable harm to Gitxaala.  I do not know if our people could ever recover from such damage.”

Enbridge’s proposal would mean heavy tanker traffic in the area, which the Gitxaala says could threaten the nation’s sustainability.

“Our culture, spirituality, and governance structure are eternally and profoundly linked to our territory and resources within our territory. The inability to harvest marine resources as a result of increased tanker traffic or an oil spill would cause irreparable harm to Gitxaala,” stated a press release sent to the media last week.