Dene Tha' First Nation

April 26, 2012 09:00 ET

Consultation Required With Dene Tha' First Nation on Shale Gas Development in the Horn River Basin

CHATEH, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 26, 2012) - The Dene Tha' First Nation expects full consultation on shale gas development in the Horn River Basin in northeastern B.C., given its decision not to renew a Consultation Protocol Agreement with the BC Oil and Gas Commission and Ministry of Energy and Mines.

The previous Agreement expired on March 31, 2012. Under that Agreement, BC took the position that it did not have to consult with Dene Tha' in the Horn River Basin because of the geographical scope of the "consultation area" under that Agreement. With the Agreement no longer in place, BC is required to consult with Dene Tha' throughout its Traditional Territory in British Columbia, which includes most of the Horn River Basin.

The Horn River Basin has been a major focus of shale gas development in northeastern B.C. Dene Tha' has expressed a number of concerns to the government of B.C. about negative impacts from shale gas development, including to water quality and quantity, threatened species such as caribou, and the exercise of their Treaty 8 rights. Dene Tha' plans to continue to voice those concerns in referral processes in the Horn River Basin.

As Dene Tha' Chief James Ahnassay explains, "We are deeply concerned about the lack of adequate information necessary to understand the impacts of shale gas development to the environment and our rights, given that shale gas technologies are new to northeastern B.C., enormous volumes of water are required, serious contamination problems have arisen with shale gas development in the United States, and insufficient studies have been undertaken to identify and address impacts from shale gas technologies."

Shale gas production requires the use of a technology known as "hydraulic fracking" which requires the injection of large volumes of water, sand and chemicals into wells at high pressure to crack the shale rock and create fractures through which gas can be released. Last year, a number of jurisdictions around the world placed moratoria on the controversial procedure of hydraulic fracking until impacts can be better understood.

In an attempt to have some of its concerns about shale gas development addressed, Dene Tha' First Nation previously filed a Petition with the B.C. Supreme Court to challenge the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines' decision to sell oil and gas tenures in June 2010 for the purpose of shale gas development. The hearing of that Petition is scheduled to proceed June 25 to 29, 2012.

Contact Information

  • Dene Tha' First Nation
    James Ahnassay

    Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corporation
    Rosanne Kyle
    Legal Counsel