Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation present grievances to Shell Chairman, board and shareholders

For immediate Release

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation present grievances to Shell Chairman, board and shareholders

May 22, 2012/The Hague, Netherlands – Today, Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) addressed Shell executives and shareholders at Shell’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Hague, Netherlands highlighting the communities grievances with Shell’s current and proposed tar sands projects in their traditional territory in northern Alberta.

Shell’s Chairman was provided with a copy of the report “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” launced last week by ACFN in partnership with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).  The report profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta arguing that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and exposes the company to both reputational damage and political risk, including litigation.

ACFN traveled with an Indigenous delegation from Canada and Alaska, coordinated by the UK Tar Sands Network and IEN, to attend Shell’s AGM. Indigenous representative presented to Shell’s Chairman and Board about the human and ecological rights violations the company’s operations have brought to their respective communities.  

“Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada’s tar sands by not meeting environmental standards, past agreements and refusing to address their impacts to our constitutionally protected treaty rights,” stated Deranger. “Shell’s current projects are contributing to the destruction of our traditional territory including vital watersheds and eco-systems.  Now they propose to expand projects further degrading our lands and impairing our ability to practice our constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the region.”

Shell executives refused to address the concerns brought forward by Deranger, stating that ACFN is nothing more then anomaly among First Nation communities in Alberta’s tar sands.  Shell has been operating in Alberta’s tar sands since 2003 and now accounts for approximately 20% of overall operations in the region.  ACFN has numerous grievances with the oil giant with disputes arising around permits, leases, applications, and unmet agreements.  ACFN made headlines last year suing the oil giant for failure to meet past agreements regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory.

Shell’s plans to expand current projects include a new open pit tar sands mine in previously untouched regions of Athabasca Delta, more then doubling their production producing over 600,000 bpd. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation stated, “I sincerely hope that Shell executives and shareholders listen to our spokesperson. Our community is drawing the line because we’ve had enough.  We have full intention of opposing all of Shell’s future tar sands projects in the region until our past grievances are met and there is full protection of our watersheds, eco-systems and our treaty rights in the region.”

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Media Contacts:

Chief Allan Adam in Canada 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger in the Netherlands  +31 644941380

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Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation representative join Indigenous Peoples from Canada, Alaska and Nigeria in the UK to criticize Shell for environmental destruction and human rights abuses

PDF VERSION AVAILABLE HERE – PR Shell Report & AGM

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation representative join Indigenous Peoples from Canada, Alaska and Nigeria in the UK to criticize Shell for environmental destruction and human rights abuses

Report to be launched in London on Friday at public meeting before delegation travels to The Hague for AGM next week

London, UK – This Friday 18th May the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are launching an Indigenous-led campaign and report against Shell and its harmful projects. A delegation of four Indigenous people from North America will participate in the public launch of a report profiling the British-Dutch company’s increasing involvement in the world’s dirtiest and riskiest energy projects. The groups are working in solidarity with Indigenous communities in Nigeria to stop Shell’s plans to expand tar sands oil, Arctic drilling and refinery operations on Indigenous lands across North America.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation made headlines in 2011 by filing suit suing the oil giant for failure to meet past agreements made between Shell and the First Nation regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca watershed. Now, the First Nation is aggressively opposing Shell’s future tar sands projects in their traditional territory in Northern Alberta including a proposed project in the pristine wilderness of the Pierre River, a previously untouched area.

The new report being launched in London, entitled “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta. It argues that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and expose the company to both reputational damage and political risk, including litigation.

Eriel Deranger, a community member and appointed spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in the UK and the Hague, stated, “This new report highlights the dangers our community could face if we don’t protect our rights and land.  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.”

Eriel Deranger will continue traveling with the delegation to attend Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on 22nd May 2012, where they will present to the Chairman and Board about the human and ecological rights violations the company’s operations have brought to the community. Other UK activist groups, including UK Tar Sands Network and London Rising Tide will be in attendance at the AGM to protest the oil giant both in Hague and London, UK via satellite AGM in the Barbican Centre.

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation stated, “As a Chief I must often remain in my community and I regret that I could not attend the report launch and the AGM however, ACFN are drawing the line and we will continue to take a strong stance against Shell’s proposed projects. We want no further development in our territory without our consent until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands in the region are addressed.”

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Media Contacts:

Chief Allan Adam 780-713-1220

Eriel Deranger in the United Kingdom +44 (0)7831484133

Full Report Here Risking Ruin – Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria

Shell under fire from Indigenous Peoples over human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Canada, Alaska and Nigeria

For immediate release: 17.5.2012

Shell under fire from Indigenous Peoples over human rights abuses and environmental destruction in Canada, Alaska and Nigeria

Report to be launched in London on Friday at a public meeting before the delegation travels to The Hague for next week’s Annual General Meeting of Royal Dutch Shell.

London, UK – This Friday, May 18th, the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are launching an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell and its harmful projects. A delegation of four Indigenous peoples [1] from North America will participate in the public launch of a report profiling the British-Dutch company’s increasing involvement in the world’s dirtiest and riskiest energy projects.

The launch event, ‘Get the Shell Out’ [2], is taking place at 7.30pm at Toynbee Hall, East London, with opportunities from 6.30pm for media interviews. It is co-hosted by a coalition of organizations which also includes UK Tar Sands Network, Women of Africa, Platform, Rising Tide UK, FairPensions, Greenpeace, Shell to Sea, Climate Rush, Art Not Oil and the Rossport Solidarity Camp.

The new report, entitled “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” [3] profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s territory in Ontario, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean and Africa’s Niger Delta. It argues that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and expose the company to both reputation damage and political risk, including litigation.

The delegation will then attend Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on 22nd May, where they will confront the Chairman and Board over the massive human and ecological rights violations and economic devastation that the company’s operations have brought to local communities. There will also be a simultaneous creative protest by UK activist groups, including UK Tar Sands Network and London Rising Tide, at Shell’s satellite AGM in the Barbican Centre on May 22nd.

Eriel Deranger, community member and spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Alberta – an Indigenous community residing downstream from tar sands operations and who are currently suing Shell for violating past agreements [4], states:

“Tar sands extraction projects on our traditional lands are being approved at a pace that is both irresponsible and irreparably destructive. People in the community of Fort Chipewyan
 are genuinely afraid. Our food and water sources are contaminated, resulting in a fear of eating traditional foods and eroding the continuation of our cultural and subsistence lifestyles. Yet Shell plans to aggressively expand its activities, doubling production. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is calling on Shell to meet its past agreements and halt expansion until our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands operations are addressed.”

Ron Plain, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Ontario – which has been called ‘the most polluted place in North America’ by the National Geographic Society, and the ‘the most contaminated airshed in Canada’ by the World Health Organization due to its proximity to ‘Chemical Valley’ where Shell’s and other tar sands operators’ refineries are causing serious health and reproductive impacts – said:

“Aamjiwnaang is the first community in the world to experience birth ratios of 2 girls to 1 boy due to endocrine disruption from the pollution. This is the first step towards extinction. Shell have admitted that their current facility, which is located at the fence-line of Aamjiwnaang, ‘could not meet today’s environmental regulations or standards.’ But Shell’s proposal for a new facility within Aamjiwnaang territory was recently denied by Canada for a whole host of environmental, social and other reasons. The corporate response to that set-back was to build onto the antiquated facility the equipment needed to process more tar sands bitumen.”

Robert Thompson, Chairman of REDOIL and an Inupiat from Kaktovik, a village on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, where Shell plans to drill offshore in Arctic waters this summer, said:

“Shell plans to drill in the Arctic this summer without the proven technology or infrastructure to deal with inevitable spills. They have not demonstrated the ability to clean up spills within or from under the ice or during storms. Our culture depends on a clean ocean, and we have subsisted in this region for 12,000 years. We oppose Shell’s plans that have the potential to destroy the culture of our people and will further push the planet into irreversible climate change.”

Ben Powless, a Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network [5], said:

“Not only have Shell reveled in being a climate criminal, they have also been exposed as fighting the European Union’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive, in collusion with the Canadian government. Their continued environmental destruction and violation of Indigenous rights across Canada, Alaska and Nigeria show that Shell needs to change their operations or face increasing protest and opposition across the world. Our organization is supporting an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell’s extreme energy projects to bring together front-line impacted communities.”

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For UK interviews contact: Suzanne Dhaliwal, UK Tar Sands Network, +44 7807095669

For North America contact: Clayton Thomas-Muller, IEN Tar Sands Campaign Director, ienoil@igc.org, +1 613 297 7515

1. The delegation consists of: Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Tar Sands Communications Coordinator, Robert Thompson, Chairman of REDOIL & Inupiat resident of Kaktovik, Alaska, Ben Powless, Indigenous Environmental Network, Ron Plain, Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

2. For more information about the event, see: http://www.no-tar-sands.org/events/get-the-shell-out/ As well as the delegation there will be speakers from Nigeria and the Rossport Solidarity Campaign. Media representatives are invited to arrive from 6.30 for interviews with the speakers.

3. Email suzanne@no-tar-sands.org if you would like to receive an advance copy of the report. It includes contributions from:

Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria; Faith Gemmill, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Alaska; Eriel Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Ron Plain, Aamjiwnaang First Nation; and Ben Amunwa, Platform London

It will go online at www.no-tar-sands.org on Friday morning.

4. For more information see: acfnchallenge.wordpress.com

5. To find out more about the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, see: http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html

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.”

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For further comment:

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

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



Shell’s Environmental Impact Assessment Fails to Protect the Environment and First Nation Rights:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shell’s Environmental Impact Assessment Fails to Protect the Environment and First Nation Rights:

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation opposes Shell’s proposed project

December 20, 2011 Edmonton – Friday marked the closing date for the Joint Review Panel (JRP) public comments on the adequacy of Shell’s proposed Jackpine mine expansion application and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Many environmental and First Nation groups, including the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), submitted initial comments outlining flaws and potential impacts of the proposed project. Once the JRP is satisfied information is adequate it will announce details of the public hearing, including dates, location, and any pre-hearing process. If the Panel is satisfied with information presented hearings will likely begin in 2012.

ACFN and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN), whose members find it increasingly difficult to hunt, fish, trap and gather as their lands are rapidly industrialized, submitted a joint submission in response to the JRP request for submissions on Shell’s Jackpine Expansion project. 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 identifies 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.[1]

“We are rightfully concerned about how Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion Project will impact and infringe our section 35 rights. It’s clear Shell’s current application does not include enough information for the JRP to appropriately assess potential impacts on our rights,” stated Chief Allan Adam of ACFN.

“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 Chief Adam. “We will no longer stand on the side lines as Shell permanently destroys our lands, our rivers, our rights and our community.”

Chief Adam’s comments come only weeks after ACFN served Shell Canada with a lawsuit for unfulfilled terms of agreements regarding existing tar sands mines. The agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide a number of measures to lessen the impact of these mines on ACFN. The community asserts that Shell’s current operations are already threatening the environment and the communities way of life and plan to oppose Shell’s two new tar sands mines until all past and future concerns are addressed.

“It’s not surprising Shell is on the hook for unmet agreements in the tar sands, their track record in other countries is shameful,” stressed Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and Tar Sands communication officer for ACFN. Shell is allegedly responsible for oil spills, gas flaring and deforestation in Nigeria stripping the land of resources, destroying subsistence farming- and fishing-based economies of Ogoni people.[2] A fate people of ACFN want to avoid. “It would be irresponsible for the Panel to approve this application and allowing the expansion of any tar sands projects. We have been calling for a moratorium on new projects and Shell is no exception. Shell has clearly failed to meet base requirements fundamental to adequate environmental, treaty and human rights protection in the area,” continued Deranger, “we can no longer afford run away expansion on our traditional lands.”

ACFN and MCFN’s concerns regarding Shell’s EIA and proposal are echoes by groups like Sierra Club Prairie and the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition (OSEC) who also put forward submissions outlining serious flaws in Shell’s EIA.

Sierra Club Prairie’s submission stated, “Development is occurring at such as fast pace that each new EIS cannot fully consider cumulative effects; projects are being announced and approved faster than the cumulative impacts can be evaluated in impact statements.”[3] A concern shared by community members from ACFN and in Fort Chipewyan.

OSEC submission reports major gaps in the submissions that renders “information before the Panel inadequate to proceed with its assessment.” OSEC’s submission goes on to state the assessment failed to incorporate relevant information about valued species and species at risk. Many of these valued and species at risk are vital to the continuation of protected treaty rights of the people of ACFN.[4]

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.”

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For more information please contact:

Eriel Deranger, ACFN Tar Sands Communication Officer 780-903-6598

Chief Allan Adam, ACFN 780-713-1220

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