Hereditary chiefs and several elected chiefs from First Nations from across Northern B.C. are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark to put their support behind an energy corridor for oil and natural gas pipelines to cross the province.
The letter — signed by 48 members of the Lax Kw’alaams Band as well as representatives from the Gitxsan Nation, Burns Lake Band, Prophet River First Nation, Nadleh Whyt’en First Nation and Kwadacha Nation — says the proposal from Eagle Spirit Energy is the best way forward when it comes to developing energy exports in Western Canada.
“We respectfully request your support for this project as we do not wish to see oil shipped by rail through our traditional territories. We too recognize the importance of alternative oil export markets to our national economy and wish to begin formal consultations with Eagle Spirit so we can fully develop a world-class environmental model, identify a specific proposed route and marine terminal site and conclude final binding agreements in a timely manner,” reads the letter.
One of the reasons the hereditary and elected chiefs say they back the Eagle Spirit proposal is because of the work the company has done with First Nations to date.
“Eagle Spirit’s proposal also fairly compensates First Nations for the risks posed to our traditional territories through meaningful revenue generation, business, employment, education, training, and capacity building opportunities promoting economic self-sufficiency for our communities and their members,” said the group.