SOURCE: WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada

May 13, 2015 13:59 ET

WWF-Canada Stands Behind the Lax Kw'alaams Decision to Reject Offer in Favour of Healthy Skeena Estuary

PRINCE RUPERT, BC--(Marketwired - May 13, 2015) - In a third and final vote today, members of Lax Kw'alaams expressed unanimous and definitive opposition to the Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal.

On May 1, the proponent of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in the Skeena River estuary of British Columbia's north coast offered more than $1 billion to gain consent for the project from one of the First Nations whose traditional territory would be impacted by the project.

The Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal is proposed for construction on Lelu Island, directly next to the mouth of the Skeena River, the second largest river in BC and the second most important river for salmon in BC. The site is also directly adjacent to a large subtidal bank (Flora Bank) that provides critical eelgrass habitat for myriad species, from invertebrates to waterfowl to forage fish to juvenile salmon.

From its inception, the project has faced multiple concerns about its potential environmental impacts. Environment Canada regulators have twice stopped the clock on the assessment process, owing to the company's failure to provide adequate information on impacts. Community and First Nations researchers have undertaken extensive field research that challenges the project's own assessment.

In the third and final vote, members of Lax Kw'alaams rejected the offer -- resulting in the unanimous and definitive opposition to the project.

The vote amounts to a resounding "yes" in favour of a vision where social, cultural, and economic wealth are fundamentally derived from a healthy and thriving ecosystem.

The following is a statement from David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada:

"The Skeena River is one of Canada's few remaining wild rivers, providing irreplaceable ecological services to the people that depend on it for salmon, food, livelihoods and spiritual sustenance. This rejection by members of Lax Kw'alaams shows amazing commitment to the maintenance of the health of the Skeena estuary. This message -- that natural wealth should not be compromised for economic gain -- is one that all Canadians should applaud."

A healthy and resilient coastal ecosystem confers multi-generational benefits throughout the entire Skeena watershed and beyond, supporting social, cultural, and economic values in the form of nature-based economies, from recreation to harvesting of seafood to tourism and more.

This definitive vote reflects a long history in the region of standing up for nature and the true wealth it provides: from integrated land-use planning, to the Great Bear Rainforest agreement, to the recently signed announced Marine Planning Partnership for the Pacific North Coast.

About WWF

WWF-Canada is part of WWF (World Wildlife Fund), one of the world's largest and most respected conservation organizations. With the active support of over 250,000 Canadians, WWF-Canada has close to 50 years of experience implementing science-based knowledge and research into on-the-ground projects. WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. Visit wwf.ca for more information.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    Tammy Thorne
    Senior Communications Manager
    WWF-Canada
    media@wwfcanada.org
    c: 416-347-1894