FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Little Known “Feeder” Pipeline – Vital To Tar Sands Expansion – Being Quietly Rammed Through Approvals Say First Nations
JULY 15, 2014 EDMONTON, ALBERTA – The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation(ACFN) and numerous Alberta landowners presented evidence today to challenge TransCanada’s proposed Grand Rapids Pipeline project. Characterized by TransCanada as a “feeder” pipeline, the 500km pipeline would transport 900,000bpd tar sands oil from Fort McMurray to the Heartland Terminal outside of Edmonton, Alberta. The project is essential to the proposed Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines and has a volume capacity double the size of the controversial Northern Gateway project.
“Without the Grand Rapids pipeline, you can say goodbye to Keystone XL, goodbye to Energy East and goodbye to a lot of the proposed oil sands expansion,” said Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications Coordinator. “This isn’t a project that should be fast tracked, it needs a thorough and comprehensive review.”
The ACFN assert the proposed pipeline would require new tar sands developments “the equivalent to the size of three Suncor sites” to fill the proposed volume of 900,000bpd, something the ACFN say will destroy their ability to hunt, fish and trap in the region and severely affect their Treaty and Aboriginal rights.
“Our peoples rights, and our way of life, are being threatened by out of control development in the region. This project approval process is another example of how government is trying to push us out,” states Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.
“Grand Rapids would provide the main feed from the source for other major pipeline projects, but the new Alberta Energy Regulator and the Alberta Consultation Office has decided the project is minimal impact, with no need to consult with our First Nation. It’s a disgusting misuse of power and poor policy,” continued Adam.
The ACFN asserts that the project is within their traditional territory, however, the new and barely functioning Alberta Consultation Office decided TransCanada was not required to consult with the ACFN on the project. The proposed pipeline would cross 56 waterways and rivers including the Athabasca River, which flows northward into the ACFN communities. The ACFN had to file a constitutional challenge against the project saying the pipeline would pass through its territory, across and beneath major waterways, critical bison and caribou habitat, and atop major ground water aquifers in order to bring forward critical evidence to the hearings. Something the ACFN feel should have never had to happen.
The push back on this pipeline isn’t just from the ACFN, Alberta landowners and environmental groups are also concerned that TransCanada has not completed its Environmental Protection Plan, Caribou protection plan, spill contingency plan or safety plan for the project yet have been granted the go ahead to enter into a full hearing process.
“The government needs to get its carbon act together before it starts green lighting more new pipelines that will just accelerate the problem,” said Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. “Just last week Alberta’s Auditor General scathing report showed that Alberta has no plan for reducing its growing emissions and is severely failing to meet even its own paltry climate goals. As climate fuelled floods once again rage across the prairies it should be a wake-up call to the Alberta government about the need to move away from high-carbon resources like the tar sands not to plunge deeper into them.”
The ACFN successfully argued for standing at the hearings and will be presenting evidence today along with concerned landowners in the region.
For more information, please contact:
Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, 780-903-6598