First Nation preparing for Shell’s Jackpine Mine Expansion Environmental Hearings
August 27, 2012 Fort McMurray, AB – For over a year the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) has been preparing for the Joint Review Panel hearings to challenge Shell Oil Canada’s proposed Jackpine Mine expansion and the Pierre River open pit mine tar sands projects. Last week, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced the first hearing dates for the Jackpine Mine Expansion project starting October 29th in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Chief and Council of the ACFN made clear commitments to protect the treaty rights of their people and the first nation feels the proposed Shell Oil projects are in breach of Treaty 8 rights leading to degradation of critical hunting, trapping, fishing lands and waterways in the region. Shell and the ACFN have been at odds with each other since last November when the first nation filed suit against the company citing breaches of past agreements and over $1.5 mil in losses for the first nation and impacts on treaty rights. Now the first nation has full intentions of challenging both applications at the hearings citing massive impacts on treaty rights, land and waterways.
“We are rightfully concerned about how Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion Project will impact and infringe our rights. Our lands and way of life are supposed to be protected by Treaty and Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act,” stated Chief Allan Adam of ACFN. “It’s clear Shell’s current application does not include enough information for the JRP to appropriately assess potential impacts on our rights and it’s time both government and industry to ensure our rights are protected now and into the future.”
The ACFN assert that participation in the hearing process is critical and is a chance for the people to influence the government and industry to create stronger protections for the land, the environment and the people. “We hope the JRP will respect our unique rights and implement our recommendations and not let Shell slide through the approval process without addressing our concerns,” stated ACFN Councillor Anthony Ladouceur. “We will no longer stand on the side lines as Shell permanently destroys our lands, our rivers, our rights and our community.”
The ACFN communications coordinator, Eriel Deranger, stated “We hope more people will support the community by ‘signing up’ as interested parties and voice their support for the first nation and their own concerns surrounding Shell’s applications.” People can do so by emailing Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca before October 1, 2012. Becoming an interested party allows you to be notified of changes, hearing dates and location and when you can submit your own written/oral statements to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Joint Review Panel.
For More information contact:
Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications Coordinator 780-903-6598
Chief Allan Adam, 780-713-1220