Enbridge offered B.C. first nations cash to study pipeline, Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
"Coastal First Nations executive director Art Sterritt said Monday his organization received $100,000 from Enbridge, but that didn’t translate into support for the company’s proposed $5.5-billion pipeline project.Recommend this post
"...Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway said the money the company has provided to first nations to study the pipeline project does not come with strings attached and has nothing to do with the company’s attempts to reach equity-sharing agreements with first nations.
"...Burns Lake Indian Band Chief Al Gerow said the central B.C. nation, under a previously elected band council, accepted $60,000 from Enbridge to study the pipeline.
"...Mr. Sterritt said the Enbridge protocols with first nations could help the company in its bid to win approval for the project because they will likely be used in court or at regulatory hearings as examples of the company’s efforts to consult with aboriginals.
“They’re definitely out there trying to mark on the calendar that they’ve consulted and attempted to accommodate,” Mr. Sterritt said. “In the meantime, they get brownie points for trying to talk to talk to us and then they come along and make an equity offer and say we’ve accommodated them.”
"Prof. George Hoberg, an environmental and natural resource policy and governance expert at the University of B.C., said current Canadian law does not require that the government get the approval of first nations to proceed with Northern Gateway, but the law requires first nations to be consulted and accommodated.
"...Mr. Stanway said he wasn’t prepared to comment on concerns raised by the north-central B.C. Yekooche First Nation, who signed on with Enbridge for an equity deal last year. Now the newly-elected chief and council have called in lawyers looking for a way out.
"He said going public with the equity deals isn’t part of the package, even though a leaked copy of one of the agreements encourages the first nation “to participate in and support the Northern Gateway Project, through the regulatory process, during construction and throughout its lifetime of service to Canada’s energy industry.”
"...Last month, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs of northwest B.C., voted to reject a $7-million Enbridge equity-sharing deal that lone Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick signed on behalf of the chiefs.
"After Mr. Derrick signed with Enbridge last December, he was forced into hiding after band members nailed shut his office in Hazelton, posted a 24-hour watch nearby and put up Derrick-wanted posters across northwest B.C."