Athabasca Chipewyan takes it to the next level

Today there were three events held in three different parts of the world.

These three events targeted Shell and upheld the voices of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations.

I encourage you all to take a look at the links and share with your networks :)

CANADA

Our event today in Calgary.  It had great coverage across North America.  Feel free to google “First Nation sue Shell.”

THE UK

Actions were held in the UK by the UK tar sands network.

 

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

Action were held in Durban by the Indigenous Environmental Network.

MASHI CHO TO EVERYONE WHO STANDS WITH THE ATHBASCA CHIPEWYAN FIRST NATION

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation serves Shell Canada with intent to Sue over tar sands projects

For immediate Release

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation serves Shell Canada with intent to Sue over tar sands projects

November 30th, 2011 Calgary –  On the eve of the 17th UNFCCC, the world’s climate summit, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and allies rallied outside of Shell Canada corporate headquarters in downtown Calgary.  The Chief and Council served Shell executives papers with intent to sue for failure to meet contractual agreements made between Shell and the First Nation regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca, A UNESCO heritage site. This event was followed by a press conference at the Kahanoff Center is Calgary, Alberta.

After years of unmet agreements with Shell Oil, the Athabasca Chipewyan people decided to risk everything by challenging Shell’s practices and filing suit represented by Othuis Kleer Townshed Firm. The agreements in question were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation.  Shell’s failure to meet these agreements with ACFN has led to harmful impacts on the environment and ACFN’s constitutionally protected rights and culture.

“We’re drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed,” stated Chief Adam.

In addition to the lawsuit against Shell, ACFN also plans to oppose all future tar sands projects by Shell. Tar sands have been widely recognized as the most destructive project on earth because of the serious impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights, ecological destruction and global green house gas emissions (GHG). Shell is one of the largest players in the tar sands producing close to 20% of overall production. Shell Canada recently submitted proposals to expand its current tar sands operations and if approved, would more then double their production. This would translate into further encroachment of open pit mines on ACFN traditional lands, and into the pristine wilderness of the Pierre River, a previously untouched area.

Councilor Anthony Ladouceur of ACFN stated, “Shell has failed to meet past commitments and governments have done nothing to mitigate the issue. Current government monitoring is inadequate and Shell cannot be trusted to monitor itself.” ACFN is rightfully concerned these projects will further impact the First Nations ability to exercise treaty rights in a meaningful way into the future. “We don’t want our community to become the next Niger Delta—where Shell’s unregulated actions have left communities devastated and resulted in the need for a 30-year clean-up estimated to cost $1 billion USD”, stated Eriel Deranger, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

The fate of our communities and our river is at stake and we are in the crosshairs of Shell’s plans to aggressively expand tar sands in our traditional territory. We ask the public to support ACFN’s efforts to stop Shell from permanently destroying our lands and community,” stated Chief Adam in his closing remarks.

Solidarity actions against Shell Oil were held in London, England at Shell International offices and in Durban South Africa at the UNFCC climate negotiations.  Shell is internationally renowned for bad business and the ACFN suit adds weight to the plight of many groups already challenging the corporation. ACFN and the Indigenous Environmental Network plan to co-release a release a report next week outlining Shell’s broken promises and history in the tar sands.  It will be available for download on the IEN website.

An international coalition of Indigenous and environmental groups, including Keepers of the Athabasca, AFN Regional Office (NWT), Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Yinka Dene Alliance, Dene Nation, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club Prairie, Council of Canadians, Polaris Institute, International Indigenous Treaty Council, Platform UK, London Mining Network and UK Tar Sands Network, endorsed today’s action echoing the call on Shell Oil Canada and Shell Oil International to halt any further tar sands extraction in the Athabasca region until proper environmental safeguards are put into place and in accordance with Article 32 of the United Nations Declaration  on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which affirms the right to free, prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples regarding development projects which affect their lands, territories and resources.

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For more information:

Chief Allan Adam –  Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger –  Sierra Club Prairie & Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-903-6598

Larry Innes – Lawyer, Othius Kleer Townshend 780-575-6776

Stand in Solidarity with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation as they serve Shell Canada with “Gift”

CALGARY – Tomorrow morning join Sierra Club Prairie, Greenpeace and Keepers of the Athabasca as they stand with the Chief and Council of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) while they present Shell executives  with a “gift” regarding unmet agreements made between Shell and the First Nation regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca, A UNESCO heritage site.

These agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation.  Shell failure to meet these agreements with ACFN has led to harmful impacts on the environment and ACFN’s constitutionally protected rights and culture. Shell is also proposing to massively expand one of these existing projects, and also has plans for a completely new project in an area that is very important to ACFN’s traditional way of life.

Come Join ACFN as they rally outside of Shell headquarter and deliver Shell their gift!

Wednesday November 30, 2011 – 9:30 am

Serving of Papers

Shell Canada Corporate headquarters

400 4 AVE SW,

Calgary, AB

FOLLOWED BY A PRESS CONFERENCE WHERE THE CHIEF AND ALLIES TAKE QUESTIONS

10:30 am Press Conference

Press Conference

Kahanoff Center

1202 Centre Street South

Calgary, AB

SOLIDARITY ACTIONS WILL ALSO BE HELD IN LONDON, ENGLAND AT SHELL HEADQUARTERS AND IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA AT THE UNFCCC CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS. Stay tuned for more information :)

 

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s Case against Shell

WHAT CASE?

On September 30, 2011 the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) filed a lawsuit against Shell Canada for unfulfilled terms of agreements between ACFN and Shell regarding Shell’s existing tar sands mines.  These agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation. Shell received permits to begin tar sands operations in 1956 and is now one of the largest operators producing close to 20% of overall production with projects directly on Indigenous lands.

Shell has not honored these agreements with ACFN leaving many commitments outstanding. ACFN members and others have observed that Shell’s operations are harming the environment and ACFN’s rights and culture, the impacts of the failed agreements contribute to the following:

  • lost opportunities to conduct environmental monitoring in the ACFN’s traditional territory during the development of Shell’s projects; and
  • lost opportunity to mitigate impacts and potential impacts to ACFN aboriginal and treaty rights caused by the development of these projects.

IMPACTS OF SHELL EXISTING PROJECTS

  • Polluted water and contributed to low water levels in the Athabasca and Muskeg Rivers.
  • Shell has exceeded surface water quality, ground water quality and air quality values at the Muskeg River Mine.
  •  Fish and wildlife have been impacted by poor water quality downstream of oil sands. There are only 3 Fishery officers for all of Alberta.
  • Shell’s Scotford upgrader, which processes bitumen from the Muskeg River Mine, has had accidents resulting in fires and uncontrolled releases of deadly H2S.
  • Shell tried to avoid installing sufficient pollution control equipment at the Muskeg River Mine and was unable to meet its solvent recovery requirements.
  •  At the adjoining Styrene Monomer Manufacturing Plant, Shell has released wastewater effluent that failed to meet permit limits (August 2008) and has also released wastewater without even sampling or monitoring the discharge at all (June 2001).
  • Shell’s tailings plans for both the Jackpine Mine and the Muskeg River Mine did not meet the standards of Directive 074, the government policy designed to reduce the environmental impact of tailings.
  •  Shell has not honored their agreement with the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition either – Shell had promised OSEC to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution to levels in line with alternatives available in North America.

WHAT NOW?

Now, Shell is proposing to massively expand one of these existing projects, and also has plans for a completely new project in an area that is very important to ACFN’s traditional way of life.  ACFN  members fear that these mines will have catastrophic effects on First Nations rights and the environment.   If Shell Canada’s proposals are approved it would more then double their production.  ACFN is drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and their broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed.

For more information on the Joint Review Process for the two proposed projects please click here.

IMPACTS OF PROPOSED SHELL PROJECTS

  • Significantly impact at least 10 species at risk and a range of wildlife and habitat in the area;
  • Drive ACFN members out of an actively used region of their territory that is critical to maintaining their culture, particularly for the families and members associated with the southern territories of ACFN’s traditional lands, which have already been devastated by oil sands development;
  • Contribute to the massive water withdrawals by oil sands projects from the Athabasca River, which ACFN members rely on as a transportation highway to their traditional sites, but which is now reported to be so low at points that safe access is no longer possible to many  traditional sites throughout ACFN’s lands;
  • Contribute to the contamination of the Athabasca River, the lifeblood of ACFN culture – already many members are too concerned to eat fish from the Athabasca River, once a cultural staple;
  • Generate vast amounts of tailings (JPM would be the largest tailings pond in the oil sands), a toxic legacy which the industry still has no foreseeable ability to reclaim or de-contaminate; and
  • Significantly accelerate the overwhelming development occurring on ACFN’s traditional lands,. ACFN members are at the tipping point for the survival of their culture, their traditional practices and the rights solemnly promised to them by the Crown under Treaty 8.

WHAT CAN I DO?

So far, Shell has only promised to address some of these effects if First Nations enter into agreements with Shell.  But, Shell’s performance on ACFN’s traditional lands has given good reason for ACFN to oppose to the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine. The Joint Review Panel, the government regulators and the people of Alberta should not trust this particular corporation to do the right thing.

The Joint Review Panel reviewing the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion project announced a comment period on the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Application filed by the proponent, Shell Canada Ltd. This comment period provides interested parties an opportunity to express their views to the Panel on the adequacy of the available information.

“The Panel will review the public comments received and will determine whether it will require additional information from the proponent. Once the Panel is satisfied that the information is adequate, it will announce the details of the public hearing, including the hearing commencement date, the hearing venue, and any prehearing process and will provide a minimum of 60 days notice prior to the start of the hearing.” [http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?nid=626129]

Forward your written comments by mail, e-mail or fax, in either official language by December 16, 2011 to the Panel Secretariat at the address below. All comments received by the Joint Review Panel will be considered public and will be posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet site.

Joint Review Panel Secretariat
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3
Tel.: 1-866-582-1884
Fax: 613-957-0941
Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENTS PLEASE CLICK HERE

ACFN is drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against these proposed Shell projects and the rapid development of its traditional lands without regard for its treaty rights, its cultural survival or the devastating environmental impacts. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the impacts of development in the region are addressed.