Mayor Garry Reece clarifies Lax Kw’alaams position on Eagle Spirit

Lax Kw’alaams members do not support the proposed construction of a pipeline or proposed refinery by Eagle Spirit Energy in our territory.

Editor:

Re: Lax Kw’alaams members support shipping oil

Lax Kw’alaams members do not support the proposed construction of a pipeline or proposed refinery by Eagle Spirit Energy in our territory for the fundamental reason that the community has not been involved in a meaningful and comprehensive dialogue regarding this project. The community has the right to make an informed decision regarding a project of this nature.

The Northern View received information from a company that made a claim that they had the ultimate “Yes” vote for this project to go ahead. The press release that was printed on May 20, 2014 was misleading. We want to provide the facts to correct the statements made about Lax Kw’alaams’ approval for this project.

Neither the Lax Kw’alaams Council nor the Lax Kw’alaams Band as a whole has taken any position on this project. Instead, a small group of band members (with their travel paid to attend these meetings) met with representatives of the company to review the agenda for the oil company’s proposal. They then issues a press release — that was perceived to be from Lax Kw’alaams Band and the membership which is simply not the case.

It is highly unlikely that our members will support an oil pipeline, regardless of who owns it. When we know more, we will ask our members. But our members have just overwhelmingly rejected the [Pacific NorthWest] LNG project because of legitimate environmental concerns over Flora Bank and the Skeena fishery, despite an offer of over $1 billion in benefits. Our members will never support a pipeline that puts the entire coast at risk.

Other than pipeline supporters, our members at this meeting did not vote in favour of the project, there was no vote and some simply agreed to seek more information. The company supporting the press release has misstated our support.

It does not matter who owns the pipeline if the oil is to be shipped by tankers where any oil spill will endanger our coastline and destroy our fishery and way of life.  We have unanimously rejected the shipping risks by Enbridge and any other oil pipeline that uses tankers will create exactly the same risk.

When we engage our community members and provide them with the facts about the environmental concerns and the potential risks related to the project, we will then provide you with an official press release regarding our community and membership’s decision.

Mayor Garry Reece

Lax Kw’alaams