From The Vancouver Sun – Feb 17, 2011
by Derrick Penner
Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline hit renewed waves of opposition this week.
group of first nations communities has publicly vowed to reject the
financial benefits package Enbridge devised to encourage their
participation in the project and the introduction of another
privatemembers is making its way through Parliament seeking to ban oil
tanker traffic off British Columbia’s north coast.
night, a group of communities under the name Yinka Dene Alliance told
Enbridge officials at a community meeting in Prince George that they
“categorically reject” a financial benefits package offered by the
company over their environmental concerns about the project.
is no amount of money that would get us involved,” Geraldine
Thomas-Flurer, coordinator of the alliance, which represents five
firstnation communities along the pipeline’s route in the central
interior of B.C.
“They came to our community in 2005, and in 2005
we told them no, we didn’t like what their project stood for,” Thomas
Flurer said in an interview, and they still oppose the pipeline, which
is being designed to carry 500,000 barrels per day of Alberta oilsands
bitumen to Kitimat on B.C.’s coast.
The first nations community
view the risks of an oil spill resulting from the project as too high to
be outweighed by the benefits package.
Last week Enbridge
publicly unveiled a benefits package that included preferential
financing for aboriginal communities along the proposed pipeline’s route
to buy up to a 10-per-cent equity stake in the project, which could
earn them $280 million over the first 30 years of the projects life.
also vowed that it would hire aboriginals to fill at least 15 per cent
of project’s construction jobs and work with communities on strategies
for procurement of goods and services from aboriginal businesses.
an interview last week, Enbridge Northern Gateway president John
Carruthers said the company made the offer because it wants first
nations to be “long-term partners” in the project.
Yinka Dene group is now following the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council in
voicing its rejection of the benefits package.
And in Ottawa
Wednesday, Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray said that her private
members’ bill seeking a ban on oil-tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast will
proceed to debate in the House of Commons next month.