NEWS RELEASE · 1st December 2011
Gathering of Nations
Oil Sands Export Ban: BC First Nations Unite to Declare Province-Wide Opposition to Crude Oil Pipeline and Tanker Expansion
Harper's push for west coast oil exports bound to fail, say First Nations
First Nations, whose unceded territory encompasses the entire coastline of British Columbia, have formed a united front, banning all exports of tar sands crude oil through their territories, and effectively all of BC - whether by Enbridge in the north or Kinder-Morgan in the south.
Several new First Nations signed the Save the Fraser Declaration in a Vancouver ceremony, expanding First Nations opposition in western Canada to more than 130 Nations. These First Nations form an unbroken wall of opposition from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean. This is the first time that First Nations have come together publicly to declare a ban on oil tankers and pipelines on both the north and south coasts.
"North or south, it makes no difference. First Nations from every corner of BC are saying absolutely no tar sands pipelines or tankers in our territories," said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. "We have banned oil pipelines and tankers using our laws, and we will defend our decision using all the means at our disposal."
It is impossible for oil pipelines to go around opposed First Nations, and their consent to pipelines and tankers in their territories is required by international law.
Today's announcement - on the first anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration - comes in response to recent calls from the Harper government and oil executives to push through pipeline and tanker projects against the wishes of British Columbians and First Nations.
"The government can talk all it wants about pushing tar sands oil pipelines and tankers through BC. There is no way our Nations will allow it," says Chief Art Adolph representing the St'at'imc Nation.
"If they are serious about respecting our rights, the government of Canada must stop pushing the oil companies' line that this is in the public interest, and the government of BC should step up to the plate too and begin protecting our rivers and coastlines from further environmental damages that violate our basic human rights.
Especially now, when Canada is a global embarrassment for failing to address climate change and systemically ignoring Indigenous rights."
The Save the Fraser Declaration, signed by more than 61 First Nations, bans tar sands oil pipelines throughout the Fraser River watershed. It also prohibits tar sands crude oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon.
Until now, the Declaration has been used to fight Enbridge's northern pipeline plans. Now it is being recognized by First Nations as effectively banning tar sands crude oil exports on the whole coast, including the south. Adding to the chorus last week, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs - representing most First Nations in BC - passed a resolution endorsing the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Coastal First Nations Declaration, and expressly recognizing that they prohibit the transportation of tar sands crude by pipeline and tanker anywhere in BC.
The Coastal First Nations declared a ban on crude oil tanker traffic on the north coast of BC in 2010. Harold Yeltatzie, president of the Coastal First Nations, stated: "The Coastal First Nations support the First Nations communities along the Fraser, Bulkley and Skeena rivers in their fight to ban crude oil pipelines in their territories.
" Yeltatzie added that the ban on crude oil tankers on BC's coast must be maintained, saying, "The consequences of a catastrophic oil spill on our people and our culture cannot be calculated or compensated."
"We won't let government and industry play First Nations off one another with their usual divide and conquer strategies.
We are drawing the line in BC and First Nations are more united than ever before to stop the threat of oil spills," said Chief Na'Moks, on behalf of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, who signed the Declaration today on behalf of his people (who are not members of the Yinka Dene Alliance).
"We have stood against tar sands pipelines from day one and we join with our brothers and sisters today in a shared commitment to put a stop to them."
Comment by Brian on 2nd December 2011
I found the above link an interesting read. Todays date.
Thank you First Nations
Comment by B Van Dyck on 2nd December 2011
Thank you for your stand against big oil and the Federal Government. We all need to stand together to protect our beautiful province.
Trans Mountain Approval!
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 1st December 2011
Today Dec 1, 2011 The NEB gave approval to the 54,000 bbl a day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline! So far Harper is true to his promise, this will mean increased tanker traffic in the Port of Vancouver and increased flow to storage facilities in Bellingham Washington!
Comment by les watmough on 1st December 2011
Harper PM says we must have pipeline to keep some jobs in Canada. Here's something new CREATE jobs, not just protect them. Make it illegal to export raw oil. Harper you have your majority, make it hapen
Count me in!
Comment by Karen on 1st December 2011
Anyone who thinks that this is a fight between First Nations and Enbridge, think again. You will see just as many non-natives as natives, if not more, standing in the way of a pipeline construction crew.
We are protecting the livelyhood of many future generations - Enbridge and the Federal Conservatives think only about the short-term profits.
Comment by Nathan Cullen on 1st December 2011
Congratulations to the 130 BC First Nations celebrating the anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration declaring opposition to crude oil pipeline and tanker expansion in B.C.
Comment by ron wilton on 1st December 2011
Thank You First Nation Peoples.
Finally a consolidated voice of reason in the midst of the our governments and the oil companies mad rush to destroy the planet.
For all of our vaunted allegiance to democracy and respect for the individual and our environment, we as a nation could not fend off the deadly onslaught of the collusion between our governments and the oil companies.
Once again First Nations hold up an Eagle Feather to protect us from ourselves.
I too will stand with First Nations and also do whatever it takes to stop the madness.