SOURCE: Metlakatla First Nation

September 18, 2015 17:21 ET

Metlakatla First Nation Comments on Aboriginal Title Claim to Lelu Island and Skeena River Estuary, and Environmental Review of PNWLNG Project

PRINCE RUPERT, BC--(Marketwired - September 18, 2015) - The Metlakatla First Nation has a strong interest in any title actions concerning Lelu Island and the Skeena River estuary, and we will continue our work to address environmental concerns regarding the Pacific Northwest LNG project (PNWLNG).

Metlakatla has a respected track record of environmental stewardship and due diligence. Through the Metlakatla Stewardship Society, we review the potential environmental impacts from projects independently from our governing council and economic development corporation.

The Metlakatla Stewardship Office (MSS) was established in April 2012 for the purpose of evaluating the impact of all developments on our lands, waters and resources, and also engaged in this work prior to the formal establishment of the office.

Since February 2013, the Metlakatla Stewardship Office has been consistently highly engaged in the environmental assessment process for the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project. This has included:

  1. Attending every working group meeting for the project.
  2. Participating in 19 out of 22 field studies with PNWLNG.
  3. Participating in the Principals Dialogue on the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project side table. At our urging, the side table was established in May 2014 to bring PNWLNG, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, CEA Agency, Lax Kw'alaams, and Metlakatla together to discuss important outstanding issues that could not be appropriately addressed in the working group meetings, focusing on marine resource issues related to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project and on fish and fish habitat in the Flora Bank and Skeena River Estuary.
  4. Participating in 15 additional meetings with PNWLNG (excluding the Principals Dialogue side table forum and other special engagement initiatives).
  5. Submitting approximately 200 comments/questions/issues on the Environmental Assessment Certificate application for the PNWLNG project.
  6. Submitting comprehensive study reports to PNWLNG regarding a Traditional Land Use Study, Socio-Economic Impact Assessment and a Disposal at Sea Study.

Our concerns regarding the environmental impact of the PNWLNG project have not been resolved. However, we acknowledge a constructive relationship and that design modifications have been incorporated as a result of ongoing discussions.

In July 2015, Metlakatla joined with four other Tsimshian Nations to form the Tsimshian Environmental Stewardship Authority (TESA), with the goal of working together and speaking with a stronger voice on regional environmental issues. The TESA Nations agree that resource development can only take place when the environment and our communities are protected. We have issued a standing invitation to Lax Kw'alaams to partner with us as part of TESA.

As leaders we have a duty to our children and future generations to fairly and thoroughly assess the potential benefits and impacts of project development in our territory. We will continue to participate in the CEAA process and will ultimately decide whether to support this project based on our rights and titles interest.

Contact Information

  • For more information:
    Veronika Stewart
    Communications Manager
    Metlakatla First Nation
    vstewart@metlakatla.ca
    (250) 922-5058