Opposition to Enbridge grows since federal approval
Jun 16, 2015
“One year later, no one has budged and no one will – in fact opposition has only gotten stronger”
The Week to End Enbridge unites First Nations, businesses and communities to fight the approval
VANCOUVER – Today, on the eve of the one year anniversary of the federal government’s decision to greenlight Enbridge Northern Gateway, the controversial pipeline project faces increasing public opposition and an uncertain legal footing given the issue of title and rights across Canada. This potent combination has people donating hundreds of thousands of dollars toward First Nations to challenge the project in Canadian courts.
The Enbridge project was approved by the federal cabinet on June 17, 2014. A number of First Nations, environmental groups and the 300,000 strong union, Unifor, filed lawsuits seeking to reverse the decision. There are now 18 cases facing Enbridge, making the pipeline subject to legal uncertainty, especially in light of last year’s landmark Tsilhqot’in decision by the Supreme Court of Canada – that decision recognized Aboriginal rights and title. Lawsuits challenging the approval go to federal court in October. To date, more than 100 First Nations have banned tar sands crude from their territories.
“Although the federal government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline one year ago, no one has budged and no one will – in fact opposition has only gotten stronger,” said Caitlyn Vernon, Campaigns Director for Sierra Club BC. “First Nations are poised to stop this in its tracks, and the number of fundraising events during the Week to End Enbridge show these nations are not standing alone.”
Dozens of events are taking place across BC this week raising money for a First Nations legal defence, as part of the Pull Together campaign being led by Sierra Club BC and RAVEN Trust. Since Pull Together was launched last year, almost $450,000 has been raised for the seven First Nations involved – Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli and Haida – through individual donations, local businesses and community events.
“As the stewards of Haida Gwaii it is our duty to keep oil tankers out of our waters and to support our neighbours who would be affected upstream,” said kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation. “We are heartened by the strength and resolve of people across the country who are stepping up to support the Haida and other nations as we go to court to stop Enbridge.”
With Alberta Premier Rachel Notley unwilling to fight for the project, oil producers have yet to sign a single shipping agreement with Enbridge. “Northern Gateway is hanging by a thread,” said Kai Nagata, Energy & Democracy Director at Victoria-based citizen group Dogwood Initiative.
“First Nations are leading the effort to stop Northern Gateway for the benefit of all British Columbians, and supporting their legal challenges is one way we can offer concrete support,” said Daniel Terry, president of Denman Island Chocolate, whose custom chocolate bar is being sold in more than 70 locations across BC and Alberta to raise money for Pull Together.
Dozens of business are participating in the Week to End Enbridge events across BC, and last weekend Jane Fonda donated $10,000 after learning about Pull Together. A full listing of fundraising events are available on the Pull Together website: http://pull-together.ca/
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Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club BC
Simon Davies, Council of the Haida Nation
Daniel Terry, Denman Island Chocolate
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