Treaty 8 Tribal Association

Treaty 8 Tribal Association

April 19, 2010 16:29 ET

Council of Treaty 8 Chiefs Extremely Frustrated With British Columbia's Decision to Move Forward With Site C

FORT ST. JOHN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 19, 2010) - The Council of Treaty 8 Chiefs are outraged with British Columbia's decision to give BC Hydro the green light to move forward to the Stage 3 regulatory phase of the Site C hydroelectric dam project.

"Treaty 8 First Nations continue to be frustrated with British Columbia's disregard of their Treaty rights when it comes to the cumulative impacts of resource development," said Tribal Chief Liz Logan. "The government has decided to move forward on Site C without ever having addressed past infringements of Treaty rights respecting the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon Dams."

"It is clear to Treaty 8 First Nations that the only real priority for the government is the further exploitation of the natural resources of Northeast British Columbia for revenue into the government coffers," said Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations. "We are gravely concerned about this, given the government's recent watering down of environmental regulatory processes. That could enable this mega project to move through with little or no challenges to the application."

"Coupled with existing forestry, mining and oil and gas development, the cumulative impacts of the Site C dam reservoir will cause irrevocable damage to fish and wildlife habitats, local agriculture and flooding of important cultural and archaeological sites," said Chief Lynette Tsakoza of the Prophet River First Nation.

"Treaty 8 First Nations are concerned that the Government of British Columbia and BC Hydro have not adequately demonstrated the real need for energy," said Chief Norman Davis of the Doig River First Nation.

Treaty 8 Nations are disappointed that the Stage 2 consultation process with BC Hydro remains incomplete, making the government's decision to move to Stage 3 premature. Of significant concern to the Treaty 8 First Nations is that BC Hydro does not believe that a Traditional Land Use Study will be necessary to establish the base-line data for the project's feasibility prior to the commencement of Stage 3. The Treaty 8 First Nations are very concerned with the integrity of the regulatory processes and whether they can meaningfully address the undeniable impacts of the project on our Treaty rights.

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