Office of the Wets'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs

Office of the Wets'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs
Gitanyow First Nation

Lake Babine Nation

Lake Babine Nation

November 05, 2014 13:30 ET

First Nations Oppose Petronas LNG Plant

Lack of Consultation "Shocking"

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2014) - Citing a grave lack of consultation and massive damage to salmon habitat, First Nations throughout the Skeena Watershed have declared their opposition to the proposed Petronas LNG project on Lelu Island, in the heart of the Skeena Estuary.

Chief Malii or Glen Williams, President and Chief Negotiator for the Gitanyow First Nation, said "When BC, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and Petronas sited a massive LNG development on the Skeena River's most critical salmon habitat, they created the legal obligation to consult and accommodate First Nations who have an interest in Skeena salmon. We have written CEAA several times since spring 2013 to express our concerns with the project and requested bilateral consultation. The Crown has refused, stating that because of the distance between our traditional lands and the terminal it is not required. This flawed reasoning does not uphold the honor of the Crown. Despite this we have continued to do our homework and we now have concrete scientific evidence that shows our salmon rely on these area and anything they do in these sensitive ecosystems need to be vetted through our Chiefs. The lack of consultation is unacceptable, industry and government have completely ignored our constitutionally protected rights and we will not stand for it."

Studies show that altering or destroying crucial habitat in the estuary will significantly damage the abundance and health of Skeena salmon, which are the essential foundation of First Nations' constitutionally protected right to fish throughout the watershed.

Chief Na'Moks of the Wet'suwet'en Tsayu Clan added: "If BC thinks it can partner with foreign oil and gas companies, pick where pipelines and plants are to be sited, all the while ignoring the science that says industrial development on the Skeena Estuary is risky and foolish, and then pretend to 'consult' with First Nations after the fact, they have fundamentally misunderstood their legal and moral obligations to First Nations."

On the same note, Wilf Adam, Oputt, Chief of the Lake Babine Nation asserts, "It's time to go beyond mouthing platitudes about new relationships and apologizing for past wrongs. The entire system of how major industrial development on our lands is proposed, and approved, is broken. It doesn't work for anyone. It is expensive, it creates more uncertainty and most often further erodes Canada's reputation as a civil society, or a desirable place to do business. On every level it is failing."

The Chiefs say that poor siting of the proposed facility and failure to seek First Nations consent place this $11 billion project at serious risk.

Chief Na'Moks further stated, "If the federal and provincial governments cannot protect our interests, and choose to work more closely with foreign-owned multinational energy companies than their own citizens, then we will be forced to represent ourselves abroad and tell Petronas the truth about their prospects."

The First Nations leaders are calling for Petronas as well as the provincial and federal governments to withdraw the project from the Lelu Island site immediately.

B-Roll and Photographs are available at:

Several copies will also be available at the press conference.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs
    Chief Na'Moks, John Ridsdale
    Wet'suwet'en Tsayu Clan
    250 643 0771

    Gitanyow First Nation
    Chief Malii, Glen Williams
    President and Chief Negotiator
    250 615 9597

    Lake Babine Nation
    Chief Oputt, Wilf Adam
    250 692 0422

    Gitxsan Nation
    Chief Spoowk, Norman Stephens
    250 842 8197

    Gitxsan Nation
    Richard Wright, on behalf of Madii 'Lii
    778 202 1567