Fed up with LNG, Kispiox residents band together to stop Petronas pipeline

Fed up with LNG, Kispiox residents band together to stop Petronas pipeline

Fed up with LNG, Kispiox residents band together to stop Petronas pipeline
Kispiox Valley residents at a recent gathering (photo: submitted)

A group of residents from the Kispiox Valley in northwest BC is vowing to stop a pipeline destined for Petronas’ contentious, proposed LNG plant on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert.  “We tried working with the BC Government and the pipeline companies but they have ignored our concerns. Now it’s time to act together – as First Nations and non-First Nations, united,” says retired community development consultant and valley resident Gail MacDonald.

The group – made up of  doctors, farmers, loggers, farriers, nurses, business owners, and guide outfitters – was cemented at a December 3 gathering at the Kispiox Community Hall to discuss LNG projects, particularly that of Malaysian energy giant Petronas.

Work ramping up

Opposition in the valley to LNG projects has been galvanized by preparatory work for the pipeline that would feed the Petronas project, several hundred kilometres down the Skeena River, amid vital estuary habitat for wild salmon. The residents are dismayed by construction work in their own region, such as recent logging done for a work yard – especially since Petronas still lacks federal permits for its LNG project and no commitment has been made by the company to build it, with global LNG prices having plummeted to well below the profitability level.

“Residents were shocked to learn that while no LNG project has received a final approval or investment decision, the BC government has granted permits for pipeline work at several locations near their community and considerable work has already begun,” a press release from the group explains. “This has occurred without communication between the BC government and local residents.”

New statement follows unheeded declaration

This recent ramping up of the community’s resolve to stop LNG development follows a virtually unanimous declaration, signed by 150 of the valley’s residents last year.

“Our rural community is a proven model of economic and social resiliency, comprised of diversely skilled professionals, trades people, farmers, forest and resource workers, guides/outfitters, and creative and versatile entrepreneurs,” it noted.

[quote]We support common sense practices of conservative resource management, renewable energy production and use, agriculture as the basis of a strong local food system, and the long-standing wild salmon economy of our region…Therefore, we cannot stand by and allow any industrial presence, including oil and gas development, that would threaten or harm our values and responsibilities as outlined in this declaration.[/quote]

First Nations question unauthorized LNG deals

Chief Gwininitxw, Yvonne Lattie of the Gitxsan Nation questions the legitimacy of some of the deals being held up by industry and government as evidence of First Nations’ support for LNG projects:

[quote]Deals are being signed by a few Hereditary Chiefs but most of us don’t want this industry in our traditional territories. A Hereditary Chief does not have the sole authority to make decisions, as he or she has many house members who have a say on what happens in their traditional territories.[/quote]

Gilbert Johnson, a member of the local Kispiox Band, adds, “The BC Government is ignoring our concerns and has put oil and gas interests above the public interest. The corruption we’ve seen in their dealings with both First Nations and non-First Nations is staggering. We will not stand idly by and let this continue.”

Project faces multiple legal challenges

In addition to this newly formalized opposition from the Kispiox Valley, Petronas and its partners face challenges from a number of fronts, including court cases led by the Gitga’at First Nation, the Lax Kw’alaams Nation and the Gitxsan group known as Madii Lii. Members of both Madii Lii and Lax Kw’alaams are also maintaining resistance camps physically challenging pipeline and plant construction in their respective territories. Meanwhile, the Haida Nation has banned LNG tankers in their coastal waters.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

7 thoughts on “Fed up with LNG, Kispiox residents band together to stop Petronas pipeline

  1. It’s so sad this is happening anywhere, let alone in such a pristine environment. Fortunately, The Tsawwassen FIrst Nation just voted down the LNG plant on their land, for now. I’m sure a larger sum will be offered to them, but hopefully, clear heads will prevail over a sell-out. It’s just unbelievable how unaccountable and uncaring “our government” is. This, along with leaky tailings ponds and the Site C Dam are just a few of many reasons we need a change of leadership. Government that won’t listen to its’ constituents is not democratic government. It’s dictatorship, and it needs to be swept away like all filth and contamination. Clark learned much about ignoring the public, not leaving a paper trail, and following a hidden agenda from harper.

  2. I’ve said this from the beginning, No matter how many of us are totally against this pipeline, the Government and CEOs of these Companies are going to do everything in their power to make this happen. In their eyes, we’re a ” bump” in the road and the money involved is too much for them to dismiss! They’re salivating over $ and how much they can take by sacrificing our Wildlife and people that live around and near the proposed sites. It is disgusting and UNACCEPTABLE to me to allow the vultures to ignore the lives of so many people and wildlife, just so they can line their pockets! I am with you my Friends, the one strong, brave and educated enough to fight against this cancer they’re bringing or trying to bring into our lives and our future children’s lives. Count me in against this fight! 🙂

  3. Way to go Kispiox. Someone should get the $ signs out of their head and seriously consider the mass destruction it would do to our beautiful land, sea, and resources.
    If it is so great then the politicians should put it thru parliament property and their home property. When are they going to listen to the people?

    I read @Willy Ens letter to PM Trudeau but couldn’t comment. Would be nice if there are working prototypes.

  4. The Solution 2 Pollution system is a conversion system which will greatly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels as well as mitigate the damage done by sequestering the pollution from combustion.

    Driven by a 25% fuel savings = 25% $$$ Savings … IMHO! even BIG OIL will subscribe!

    Follow the ‘paper-trail’ and I don’t think Justin Trudeau is ‘uninformed’ either … just sayin’.


  5. I suppose we should look at ourselves and ask the question, “What kind of environment would we like to leave our descendants?”

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