March 26, 2013 Fort McMurray, AB– Last week Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) was in Ottawa with the Yinka Dene Alliance to support First Nation opposition to pipelines associated with Tar Sands expansion and meet with government officials. Only days after returning to Alberta Suncor Energy, one of the largest and oldest operators in the region, suffered a breach of it’s tar sands tailing pipeline resulting in a release into the Athabasca River.
“As Chief of a downstream community in the region this type of incident is of great concern and substantiates my community’s long time concerns of the negative and adverse impacts this industry has on our eco-system, traditional lands and cultural rights,” stated Chief Adam.
Last week Chief Adam traveled to Ottawa to support First Nation opposition the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL tar sands pipelines where leaders vowed to stop the construction of the pipelines. Many First Nations are challenging the regulatory system that grants approvals for pipelines and expansion of the tar sands citing its failure to adequately address First Nation inherent rights to the lands and resources.
“Our struggles are tied together because approvals of pipelines is approvals for expansion of tar sands in my traditional territory. This incident in Suncor’s operations is just another example of what’s at stake and the governments and industry’s failure to safeguard the environment and people. It also serves as a reminder of the weak environmental monitoring systems and the inability of the region to take on more development,” remarked Chief Adam.
“The fate of the survival of our communities, lands, animals, waterways and peoples lay in the hands of bureaucrats who are failing to uphold protection of Treaty rights and the rights of Mother Earth. Now more then ever we must stand together to stop the destruction we are seeing in Alberta’s tar sands and move toward more sustainable futures for everyone.”
Chief Adam added that although he takes a hard stance against the current status quo of tar sands development, monitoring and reclamation that the First Nation is not anti-development. They are however, very concerned with a faulty regulatory system, weak environmental protection and laws and legislation that cater towards an industry that continues to erode the very environment that his First Nation and many other First Nations rely on for the continuation and livelihoods of their people and culture.
For More information please contact:
Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications Coordinator 780-903-6598
Chief Allan Adam, ACFN 780-713-1220