MEDIA ADVISORY: First Nation Presents Legal challenge of Shell’s Tar Sands Expansion along with Allies and Supports

First Nation Presents Legal challenge of Shell’s Tar Sands Expansion along with Allies and Supports

FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTAOn October 23rd the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) will be presenting their arguments regarding their question of Constitutional Law to the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the Joint Review Panel (JRP) with respect to Shell Canada’s application to expand their Jackpine Mine tar sands project. The questions brought forward by ACFN are rooted in section 35 of the Canadian constitution outlining the governments failure to meaningfully address the overall impacts of development on ACFN’s treaty rights as set out in Treaty 8. Although, the ERCB and JRP have agreed to hear evidence from ACFN they stated they have not determined if they will make decisions regarding constitutional challenges regarding section 35 rights.  Chief Allan Adam of ACFN, along with allies and supporters, will be making a public statement regarding the importance of this challenge noon at MacDonald Island Park.

What?   Drummers, Banners & Press Statement made by Chief Allan Adam with public support followed by evening speaking event with ACFN representatives, Maude Barlow and members of Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Fort McKay First Nation.  

When and Where?           Tuesday October 23, 20

9:00am Hearings Begin
MacDonald Island Park
151 MacDonald Drive,
Fort McMurrary, AB T9H 5C

12:00pm ACFN Press Statement
MacDonald Island Park
151 MacDonald Drive,
Fort McMurrary, AB T9H 5C5

6:30pm Speaking Event
Athabasca Room
MacDonald Island Park
151 MacDonald Drive,
Fort McMurrary, AB T9H 5C5

Why?     With new and emerging changes to environmental laws in Canada, ACFN’s constitutional challenge based on Section 35 constitutional rights and Treaty 8 may be the only recourse for effectively challenging tar sands projects.  The Jackpine Mine expansion application is scheduled to appear before the Joint Review Panel starting Oct. 29 in Fort McMurray, Alberta. However, the Panel is required to hear constitutional challenges on October 23rd before the full public hearings.  The proposed application would require the disturbance of 12,719 ha of land and destroy 21 kilometres of the Muskeg River, a culturally significant river.  Greenhouse gas emissions from the Jackpine expansion will total 2.36 Mt CO2e/year, representing an increase of 5.2% in oil sands emissions (based on 2009) or approximately 281,000 cars on the road.

For more information about the rally and press event please contact Eriel Deranger at 780-903-6598 or eriel.deranger@acfn.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: First Nation concerned Bill C-45 allows Tar Sands industry to destroy vital waterways and treaty rights

First Nation concerned Bill C-45 allows Tar Sands industry to destroy vital waterways and treaty rights

October 18, 2012 – Fort McMurray, AB – Today the conservative government tabled a new version of Bill C-45, a 443-page bill, to implement its federal budget.  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) was taken aback by the proposed amendments stating they are indicative of the further erosion of Treaty rights in Canada.  ACFN leadership is particularly worried about suggested amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the removal protections of culturally significant and vital river ways from the act.

“This is unacceptable.  They have made a unilateral decision remove the protection of waterways without adequate consultation with First Nations and communities that rely on river systems for navigation and cultural practices protected under treaty,” stated Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Shell Canada has proposed to mine out 21km of the Muskeg River, a river of cultural and biological significance. This ultimately gives the tar sands industry a green light to destroy vital waterways still used by our people.”

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is gearing up for presenting a question of constitutional law against the application of Shell Oil Canada to expand one of it’s existing project, citing lack of adequate or meaningful consultation and that the application would have adverse impact on their treaty rights.  In particular, the application calls for the mining out of 21 km of the Muskeg river, a river of cultural and traditional significance to both the people and wildlife in the area.  The new legislative changes would remove the protection of the Muskeg river making it much easier for Shell to gain approval.

“I am seriously concerned. We have seen the erosion of our people’s Treaty rights throughout various forms of legislation over the past decade.  The new proposed amendments in Bill C-45 are proof to us that the government hold little stock in our rights and title and are creating more loop holes for industry to continue annihilating our lands,” stated Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.  “We hope there will be a public outcry that echoes our sentiment.  After all, we all share the responsibility to protect mother earth.”

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For more information contact:

Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-713-1220
Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator ACFN 780-903-6598