Check out Chief Adam’s Op-Ed: Pipelines

Check out Chief Adam’s Op-Ed: Pipelines Threaten a way of Life #tarsands #pipeline #enbridge #shell http://ow.ly/aMDqI

Op Ed: Pipeline threatens a way of life

By Allan Adam, Edmonton Journal May 5, 2012

In January the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation signed the Save the Fraser Declaration offering support to the Yinka Dene Alliance and those opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. Alliance representatives are now travelling on the Freedom Train tour from northern B.C. to Toronto for Enbridge’s annual general meeting May 9 to enforce their legal refusal of the projects. We at the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation understand what is at stake for them, as our homelands are at the centre of the oilsands developments that are fuelling this controversy.

From a First Nations perspective, it doesn’t matter whether we stand on the coast of B.C. or in the heart of the oilsands – our struggle is largely one and the same. We don’t want our lands, our rights, or our people to be sidelined and destroyed by irresponsible development.

As Denesuline People, we have an intricate relationship with Mother Earth that keeps our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in balance. This sacred connection is shared by our brothers and sisters in B.C. and is the very reason we support the opposition to the Gateway pipeline. We intimately understand their struggle to protect environmental values – values not only significant to First Nations peoples, but at the heart of what it used to mean to be Canadian.

Throughout a vast tract of our traditional lands, the land, air and waters upon which our people depend for our culture and livelihood are being devastated to extract the very bitumen that would be shipped through pipelines to the West Coast. In Alberta, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is challenging two oilsands proposals by Shell Oil – an expansion of the existing Jackpine Mine and the new Pierre River open pit mine.

The Pierre Rive Mine is proposed in a pristine region of the Peace-Athabasca Delta and would adversely impact critical habitat for species at risk, traditional lands and the ecology of the fragile and globally significant Delta that our people rely on. Both projects would be developed with adjacent wet tailings and require additional withdrawals from the Athabasca River – a sacred lifeline for our community.

Shell’s proposed projects would more than double their production. The proposed Enbridge pipelines would cross 1,000 rivers, three major salmon-bearing rivers and unceded territories of many First Nations. A spill would devastate the lives and economies of these communities and the fragile rivers and ecosystems they rely on.

What is more, despite assurances by Canada and Alberta that our environmental regulations are among the strongest in the world, both governments are taking steps to reduce environmental regulation to accelerate the pace of development. In recent years, Canada has shirked its duty to properly enforce the Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, and the constitutionally protected provisions of treaties 6 and 8. Now, the federal government has proposed significant changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act, both designed to streamline and reduce regulatory approvals processes for oilsands projects including pipelines.

Approval of the Enbridge pipeline would threaten B.C.’s $1-billion ecotourism and fishing economy and enable further expansion of oilsands development in our traditional lands, pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain. However, if First Nations in B.C. are successful in asserting their rights in the face of this unwelcome development, then we may share in their strength in meeting the challenges we face here in northern Alberta.

It is clear to us the Enbridge pipeline and oilsands expansion are linked at the source, and they all weigh heavily on our common future. It is our people – not those making the decisions in Ottawa, Calgary and elsewhere – who endure the constant concern of contamination, loss of livelihood and diminishing water quality. And yet, our concerns and the impacts to our people go largely unrecognized, unaccounted for and unaddressed as project after project receives approval and corporations continue to profit at the expense of our culture and way of life.

Allan Adam is chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
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ACTION ALERT: Let the government and Shell know you are on watch!

ACTION ALERT: Let the government and Shell know you are on watch!
Sign up to be an interested party for Shell’s proposed Tar Sands projects

Join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and voice you concerns and sign up as an Interested Party for Shell’s proposed projects the Pierre River Mine and the Jackpine Mine Expansion projects by emailing Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca and blind copy etchekwied@gmail.com.

Governments are changing the regulatory framework making it harder for the public to voice their concerns. Sign up while you still can! Signing up will notify you of additional environmental submissions by Shell, hearing dates, locations, and when you can make your own written/oral statements to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency about the projects.

We have said enough is enough. It’s time to ensure our critical eco-systems, Indigenous rights and traditional lands are protected in the wake of Tar Sands expansion. ACFN is putting everything on the line by challenging Shell’s two proposed Tar Sands projects.

WHY?

Shell’s past performance on ACFN’s traditional lands has given good reason for ACFN to oppose the proposed Jackpine Mine expansion and the Pierre River Mine projects. Both projects would adversely impact critical habitat for species at risk, traditional ACFN lands, and the ecology of a fragile Delta that our people are reliant on.  ACFN traditional lands and sacred waterways lay within the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s last remaining intact freshwater deltas, as well as Canada’s Wood Buffalo National park.  The protection of these areas is important for ACFN and all Canadians alike.

Shell’s proposed projects would produce 600,000 bpd of tar sands, contributing to cumulative impacts and creating enough oil to fill the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain.

Help us tell Shell and the government that ACFN’s traditional lands and rights, Canada’s nationally protected parks and Delta cannot be sacrificed for more Tar Sands projects. ACFN welcomes you to join us and sign up as an interested party to voice your own concerns about the proposed projects.

Join ACFN and sign up today!

Email Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca and bc etchekwied@gmail.com to sign up as an Interested Party to both the Pierre River Mine and the Jackpine Mine Expansion and let them know you stand with ACFN and voice your own personal concerns or questions. There are TWO projects! Make sure you’re clear you want to sign up for both.

Alternately you can write or call the respective Directors, Kurt Saunders and Jill Adams at the following:

 Pierre River Mine Project
Kurt Saunders, Associate Director
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Place Bell Canada
Ottawa  ON  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-957-0700 or 1-888-957-0941
Fax: 613-957-0941
Email: Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

 Jackpine Mine Expansion Project
Jill Adams, Panel Manager
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Place Bell Canada
Ottawa  ON  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-957-0700 or 1-866-582-1884
Fax: 613-957-0941
Email: Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

For more information please email
Eriel Deranger, ACFN Tar Sands Communications Coordinator at etchekwied@gmail.com


Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train – Tar Sands to Pipelines

The Yinka Dene Alliance is taking a Freedom Train across Canada to enforce their legal ban on the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers project, and to stand up for their freedom to choose their own future. A large delegation of Yinka Dene people will travel with allied First Nations from their traditional territories in northern BC all the way to Toronto, with events in Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg along the route.

In Toronto, the Yinka Dene Alliance will take the Save the Fraser Declaration – which bans oil pipelines and tankers in the territories of more than 100 First Nations –  directly to Enbridge’s leadership and the centre of financial power in Toronto, at Enbridge’s annual shareholders meeting. These oil pipelines and tankers threaten the very survival of First Nations peoples with devastating oil spills. That is why the Yinka Dene Alliance are taking this Freedom Train across Canada: to stand up for the freedom to live according to their own cultures, the freedom to govern themselves and their lands, and the freedom of all of us from the catastrophic risks of big oil and their inevitable oil spills.

As part of this tour they will be stopping in Edmonton on May 1 and 2 and we would like to show them a warm welcome.

On May 1st various groups have organized a feast, round dance and time for people to hear the Yinka Dene speak and share the stories of their journey. For more information please check out the facebook event here.

On May 2nd, the Yinka Dene will rally at the Alberta Legislature and march to the Enbridge office in downtown Edmonton at 11:30am.  We welcome everyone to come and join them and help elevate their voices. For more information please check out the facebook event here.

As many of you remember, ACFN signed onto the Save the Fraser Declaration in January of this year.  We signed onto the declaration because we understand what is stake for the Yinka Dene and our struggles are one and the same.  We don’t want our rights, lands and people sidelined by profits and “development.” As Indigenous peoples we have an intricate relationship with Mother Earth and all that she provides us and we must carry out our duties as stewards of the land and stand up for those that cannot speak.

The connection to the Enbridge pipelines challenge lies in our own challenge of Shell’s proposed projects .  Shell’s proposed projects would more then double their production producing 600,000 b/p/d of tar sands contributing to cumulative impacts already felt in the region.  Shell’s projects alone would be enough to fill the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines enabling Shell’s expansion of tar sands development in our traditional lands, pushing us beyond the tipping point of what our lands and way of life can sustain. The proposed pipelines would also cross over 1000 rivers, 3 major salmon bearing rivers, and across unceeded territories of many First Nations in BC.

Both Shell and Enbridge projects have lacked proper analysis of Treaty and Indigenous rights and meaningful and proper consultation with impacted communities.  The JRP of the Enbridge pipelines has seen First Nation communities stand up in opposition in community after community asserting their connection to the land and culture are far greater then the piece meal profits and jobs they would get from the project.

Because the themes of our struggles intersect, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has been and will continue to keep a watchful eye on the progress of the Yinka Dene Alliance’s challenge of these massive pipelines.  It is our hope they will be successful in asserting their rights to both the corporations and the governments, then perhaps we can share in their strength challenging projects here in Northern Alberta.

US Senate rejects amendment to Transportation Bill and approval for Keystone XL Pipeline

The cross border battle in the tar sands achieved a victory today.   The Hoeven Amendment to the Transportation Bill, which would have over-ridden the President’s recent denial of the Keystone XL pipeline and mandated its approval,  failed to get enough votes to pass through the Senate.  This amendment would have undercut processes to protect the public’s safety, health and economic well being by bypassing the need for proper environmental review of the project.  The vote was 56-42 in favor of KXL, however under Senate rules it needs 60 votes to pass.

It’s clear that our voices, our concerns and hard work are no longer falling on deaf ears.  US leaders are no longer following suit with it’s Canadian counterparts who appear to rubber stamp all projects without adequate review, assessment or consultation with First Nations.   US leaders are willing to take a stand and support the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and the massive dirty energy projects associated with it that would ultimately impact the waterways, critical lands and the health and safety of it’s people through the US heartland.  If only we could see the same protections being put in place here in Canada.

The reason this rejection is such a victory for the people of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is simple, without adequate delivery methods for tar sands oil producers will be choking on the oil they plan on or currently mine/produce.  Without massive pipeline allowing for cheap transportation of oil major oil companies, like Shell, will be left holding hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil with no method to transportation. Current tar sands transportation lines cannot adequately handle the proposed expansion and increases development in tar sands production.

I want to stress the Keystone XL pipeline is not gone and rest assured new routes and new pipelines with be proposed. However, what has been shown is that our concerns are finally being heard and that we can make a difference.

Again, I would like to appalled all those that worked tirelessly to make this happen and repeat the words of Chief Allan Adam when we first heard the news of the rejection of the pipeline this January:

“The decision to reject this pipeline comes from the opposition of the many Indigenous communities and our allies.  The Mother Earth Accord outlined the serious implications the pipeline would’ve had on the people, our rights and our lands.  This is a major victory for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. We hope the Canadian government recognizes Obama’s rejection as a sign to slow down the current pace of development in the tar sands.  Rapid expansion in the tar sands has left developers struggling for inexpensive ways to ship, refine and sell their oil.  Stopping these massive pipelines is key to stopping further destruction of our territory.  We are still working to oppose Shell’s proposed tar sands expansion of open pit mining projects in our traditional territory in Northern Alberta. We hope that you all join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation this year in opposing Shell’s projects and the development of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  Together we can protect our lands, our futures and our treaty rights.”

12 Major oil companies, including Shell, ban together to greenwash the Tar Sands

Today 12 oil companies have joined together to create the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).  The groups state the purpose of COSIA is to share and conduct research and technology development in several key areas of environmental performance in the tar sands. These  areas include greenhouse gases, land disturbance, water, air emissions and management of tailings, the toxic effluent produced by tar sands. For more information please see the report in the National Post.

One must be skeptical of such an alliance of multi-national corporations operating in the tar sands.  Tar sands development has been under heavy criticism over the last year after disparaging reports from the October Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which criticized current monitoring and the legitimacy of RAMP’s data.  That coupled with tar sands pipeline opposition in the US (TransCanada – Keystone XL) and Canada (Enbridge Northern Gateway), and the recent heated debates surrounding the labeling of tar sands as a high carbon fuel in the new EU Fuel Quality Directive, one starts to see the motives of these corporations.  They are doing their best to create positive PR for their shareholders and the public.

This effort of major oil companies banning together to try and create “independent data” on tar sands seems like a last ditch effort to try and greenwash the industry. COSIA even went so far as remarking that although they will be independent of CAPP they feel CAPP will be supportive of their research and work.  Of course they will be and already are. CAPP has been working as hard as the tobacco industry did by exploring any and all efforts to disprove the negative impacts of their respective industries. CAPP has highlighted COSIA on their homepage with a link directly to COSIA’s “independent” site.

One should be cautious of the data being developed by COSIA, which will produce non-binding recommendations with no actual set goals or timelines for any environmental protection or stewardship.  In fact, in their opening statement representatives from COSIA made it clear they are looking at improving environmental leadership while facilitating the growth of the work in the tar sands.  Basically, business as usual with the continued pace of ridiculous growth, but now with a new veil to try and placate the public.

All of this is so reminiscent of the efforts of the tobacco industry, see here for a short video on the history of tobacco industry efforts.

Greenpeace had this to say about today’s announcement:

In the absence of any commitments to real reductions in pollution with penalties for not meeting them, this is simply another example of “greenwash”, where an industry association makes vague promises to clean up its act in order to avoid regulations with real teeth. This regulatory dodge was invented by the chemical industry in the 1980s post-Bhopal and perfected by the oil and auto industries in the 1990s as they signed up to a “voluntary challenge” in order to avoid real limits on greenhouse gas emissions.[1]

What is interesting about today’s announcement is that the audience for this PR initiative is not the federal or Alberta governments, who have made it clear that they won’t bring in new regulations[2] or even enforce the ones they have[3], but governments in the US and Europe who are preparing to act on the climate impact of the tar sands because they recognize that Canadian governments won’t.

[1] For an academic take on this, see Douglas Macdonald, Business and Environmental Politics in Canada, Broadview Press (2007), especially Chapter 5.[2]  We’re still waiting for those tough new limits on industrial polluters John Baird promised in 2007, while Peter Kent has indefinitely delayed his promised regulations on the tar sands. [3] The Government of Alberta is not enforcing its own tailings rules.

The 12 companies which have signed the COSIA Charter are: BP Canada Energy Company, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp., Devon Canada Corporation, Imperial Oil, Nexen Inc., Shell Canada Energy, Statoil Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Teck Resources Limited, and Total E&P Canada Ltd.

The names on this list are not surprising.  Most of them are corporations with heavy stakes in the tar sands with new projects awaiting approval.  This includes Shell.  It becomes increasingly clear Shell is willing to pull out all the stops and pursue all angles to try and argue there is nothing wrong with current projects to give way for a clear path for approvals of their two new projects, Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine. Both projects currently under review and being contested by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. It should also be mentioned that Shell has also been involved in lobby efforts in the EU to try and dissuade EU countries from labeling tar sands as a high carbon fuel.

So the question remains, who’s interests are being served by such a coalition of multinational corporations deeply invested in tar sands expansion?

I hardly believe that it will be in the public’s interest and I guarantee that First Nations traditional and ecological rights will not be included in the development of any data created by COSIA.  Once again a platform is being developed that exclude our people, our rights and our knowledge out of the bigger picture and gives the power to the very people who are oppressing us.

Response to Supreme Court of Canada’s rejection of appeal of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Response to Supreme Court of Canada’s rejection of appeal of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

February 23, 2012 Fort McMurray – Members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) are disappointed with yesterday’s response from the Supreme Court of Canada announcing that it would not hear their appeal.  In January of 2011, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation presented a case against arguing that tar sands leases granted to Shell in the Poplar Point area along the Athabasca River were made without proper consultation.  The Alberta courts summarily dismissed the case prompting leadership to take an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

ACFN asserts their treaty rights were violated by the provincial government through current policies of granting of tar sands leases and in particular to leases granted to Shell Canada Ltd. The leases in question are in an area of important cultural value allowing the continued hunting, fishing and gathering practices of the community.  ACFN are signatories to Treaty 8, a constitutionally protected agreement, which asserts the right to hunt, fish and trap on their traditional lands.  The federal government has a duty to consult with First Nations regarding any development on their lands before breaking ground.

The current Alberta Energy Ministry’s policy is to consult with aboriginal groups when development has the potential to adversely affect traditional uses and their constitutionally protected rights to hunt, trap, and fish. The provincial government stands by their stance that is does not consult with First Nation at the preliminary lease-granting stage because there are many steps to go before tar sands development actually occurs. Currently, the government’s policy is to simply post lease sales online and not consult directly with First Nations.

“I’d say the province isn’t doing a good job,” Bankes said when an Alberta court quashed the First Nation’s initial appeal last year.

“Particularly when it comes to granting oilsands rights, because they basically say, ‘We can fulfil our duty simply by posting stuff on our website.’ I don’t think that’s real consultation.”

ACFN is disappointed the Supreme court of Canada does not deem this issue of national interest and they stand by their stance that Alberta tenure system needs to be reviewed and amended to include the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations at the early stages of granting leases.

In recent months, tar sands development has come under fire across the globe; in the US there is growing opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, which is proposed to carry Alberta’s tar sands to the gulf of Mexico through the agricultural heartland of the US; the EU cannot agree on a decision on whether to classify tar sands oil as a high carbon fuel; and here in our own country growing opposition in British Columbia to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which proposes to carry tar sands oil to the coast of Kitimat to be shipped as far away as China.

Tar sands have clearly become a national issue garnering attention across the globe and yet Canada’s supreme court does not support the idea of scrutinizing the current structure of provincial First Nation consultation and how they grant leases in the province.

From Pipelines to Tar Sands Expansion ACTION ALERT!

ACTION ALERT: Submit written comments on Shell’s revised Jackpine and Pierre River mine agreements

Yesterday the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released notice of Public Consultation on Revised Joint Review Panel Agreements. The proposed revisions being put forward by CEAA are to allow the Jackpine Mine Review Panel to also review the Pierre River Mine project together.  The possibility of appointing the same panel to review the two projects was already under consideration and a single, integrated Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared by Shell Oil (the proponent) for the two projects.

ACFN is concerned about the proposed Shell Projects impacts on ACFN’s ability to exercise treaty rights in a meaningful way into the future.  The regulatory process DOES NOT meet ACFN’s need in terms of a proper assessment of impacts to rights. ACFN has no assurance that the environment and treaty rights can be protected because Alberta has done a poor job of enforcing environmental protection with the companies and  Shell has not met past commitments to ACFN. In September of 2011, ACFN  filed suit suing Shell Canada for these unmet agreement (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation serves Shell Canada with intent to Sue over tar sands projects).

Chief Adam of ACFN stated, “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, our treaty rights respected and our rights are fully recognized within the approval process once and for all.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • WRITE IN AND VOICE YOUR CONCERNS BY FEB. 24, 2012
  • REGISTER AS AN INTERESTED PARTY BY FEB. 24, 2012 AND PRESENT TO THE PANEL DURING THE HEARINGS 
  • LET’S KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM AND PRESSURE AGAINST INDUSTRY
  • SUPPORT ACFN AND OUR CASE AGAINST SHELL OIL CANADA

For more information on how to submit comments and register by  February 24, 2012 please visit the CEAA site here or contact:

Kurt Saunders, Associate Director
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Tel.: 613- 948-1351 or 1-866-582-1884
Fax: 613-957-0941
kurt.saunders@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

THE BASICS OF SHELL’S PROPOSED PROJECTS:

1. Jackpine Mine Expansion:

Shell Canada is proposing to expand the Jackpine Mine (Jackpine Mine Expansion, JPME). The expansion would include additional mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure. The project would be located about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the east side of the Athabasca River. The expansion project would increase tar sands production by 100,000 barrels per day (to a total of 300,000 bbl/day). Proposed water usage includes an 18,000,000 m3/yr diversion from the Athabasca River. The proposed expansion includes plans to mine out a portion of the Muskeg River, which is culturally important to ACFN. Based on recent calculations, the total footprint proposed for the development is 20,801.6 hectares.

ACFN submitted a joint submission to Joint Review Panel outlining the concerns of the JPME project application just last month.  The joint submission asserts rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including rights pursuant to Treaty 8, to hunt, fish, and trap, which guarantees First Nations have a meaningful livelihood now and for the future. ACFN’s joint submission identified the following overarching flaws in the application:

1. Shell has not provided sufficient information with respect to the Project’s impacts and infringements of our section 35 rights for the JRP to comply with the Terms of Reference.

2. Shell has not provided sufficient information for the JRP to be able to conduct an assessment of the cumulative effects of the Project, either on environmental components or on our section 35 rights and traditional uses.

3. Shell has not provided sufficient information for the JRP to assess water quantity issues, including the degree to which the Project could diminish water levels below the threshold level where we can still exercise our section 35 rights and fully access our traditional lands.

More information available here in past post: Shell’s Environmental Impact Assessment Fails to Protect the Environment and First Nation Rights

2.  Pierre River Mine:

Shell Canada is also proposing the Pierre River Mine Project (PRM), which includes the construction, operation, and reclamation of an tar sands surface mine and bitumen extraction facilities. The proposed mining project would be located approximately 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the west side of the Athabasca River. It is about 27 kilometres to the south and west of ACFN’s Poplar Point Reserve. The proposed development includes an open-pit mine, ore handling facility, bitumen extraction facilities, tailings processing facilities, support infrastructure, water and tailings management plans, as well as the construction of a bridge across the Athabasca River. The project is designed to produce a total of 200,000 barrels of tar sands per day. Water usage includes a 55,100,000 m3/year diversion from the Athabasca River. Based on recent calculations, the total proposed footprint is 10,402.90.

THE TOTAL FOOTPRINT OF BOTH PROJECTS:

  • 31,205.5 HECTARES OF LAND
  • 73,100,000 M3/YEAR OF WATER DIVERTED FROM THE ATHABASCA RIVER
  • PROJECTS IMPACT CRITICAL HABITAT OF WILDLIFE
  • PROJECTS WOULD IMPACT CULTURALLY SENSITIVE ACFN TERRITORY
  • PROJECTS WOULD IMPACT AND ALTER PROTECTED HUNTING, FISHING, TRAPPING AND GATHERING RIGHTS OF ACFN; AND
  • CREATE 500,000 BARRELS OF TARSANDS PER DAY

ACFN responds to Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL pipeline

MEDIA ADVISORY
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline rejected, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation hopeful trend will continue in Canada

Today was a major victory for many Indigenous communities as the Obama Administration announced the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is hopeful Canada will follow this trend and deny new tar sands projects in Canada, including the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline and Shell Canada’s proposed open pit mining projects.

ACFN Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation had this to say about today’s announcement:

“The decision to reject this pipeline comes from the opposition of the many Indigenous communities and our allies.  The Mother Earth Accord outlined the serious implications the pipeline would’ve had on the people, our rights and our lands.  This is a major victory for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. We hope the Canadian government recognizes Obama’s rejection as a sign to slow down the current pace of development in the tar sands.  Rapid expansion in the tar sands has left developers struggling for inexpensive ways to ship, refine and sell their oil.  Stopping these massive pipelines is key to stopping further destruction of our territory.  We are still working to oppose Shell’s proposed tar sands expansion of open pit mining projects in our traditional territory in Northern Alberta. We hope that you all join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation this year in opposing Shell’s projects and the development of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  Together we can protect our lands, our futures and our treaty rights.”

–30–

For further comment:

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

Tar Sands Commuincations Officer, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-903-6598