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Wet’suwet’en Fear Contaminated Soil Cleanup Is Creating New Risks

Wet’suwet’en Fear Contaminated Soil Cleanup Is Creating New Risks

Waste from diesel spills by Coastal GasLink and RCMP is being dumped in local landfill.

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Tarp covering spill site at RCMP’s Community-Industry Safety Office, which was set up last year to patrol protests where Coastal GasLink is building a pipeline to transport natural gas. Photo: submitted.

Efforts to clean up diesel spills by the RCMP and Coastal GasLink in Wet’suwet’en territory risk spreading the contamination, the First Nation has warned.

Mike Ridsdale, environmental assessment co-ordinator for the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, the central office for the nation, said the waste is being moved to a nearby landfill where it will still pose a threat.

“We’ve had two spills where the contaminants were knowingly moved into another watershed and are now threatening our water,” Ridsdale said. “This is unacceptable to the Wet’suwet’en, and our yintah (territory) should not suffer from this poorly designed remediation.”

Government officials are defending the transfer of 2,351 tonnes of contaminated soil and gravel to a nearby landfill instead of a site farther away that’s designed to take hazardous waste.

The materials came from two separate spills, one at a Coastal GasLink work camp and the other at the RCMP Community-Industry Safety Office, both south of Houston on the Morice West Forest Service Road.

Police established the remote detachment to monitor potential conflicts over the building of Coastal GasLink’s natural gas pipeline, which is opposed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Each spill is estimated at about 500 litres. The spill at the RCMP detachment occurred about 100 metres from the Morice River.

The contaminated soil is being taken to the Knockholt Landfill east of Houston, which is within a kilometre of the Bulkley River. According to the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako’s website, the landfill is suitable for residential, commercial and institutional waste, including food, wood, animal carcasses and scrap metal. Industrial waste is not accepted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Amidst National Crisis, Province Gives Unist’ot’en an Ultimatum

Amidst National Crisis, Province Gives Unist’ot’en an Ultimatum

Meet with pipeline company within 30 days or decision will be made without you, Environmental Assessment Office says.

Brenda arrest
Unist’ot’en member Brenda Michell, whose chief name is Geltiy, was arrested on Feb. 10. Photo by Amanda Follett Hosgood.

The office found Coastal GasLink had not provided the information needed to allow the office to assess the project’s impact.

But it said that was because the company had been prevented from accessing the area to gather the information by Wet’suwet’en opposed to the project.

Discussions between the Wet’suwet’en and Coastal GasLink are unlikely to be easy to arrange, if they happen at all.

Opposition to Coastal GasLink’s LNG pipeline by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters have thrown the country into a national crisis. Blockades have closed major highways and railways over the past two weeks. 

On Friday, Trudeau said the barricades erected across the country should now be removed.

The nationwide protests were initiated when the RCMP enforced an injunction by removing barricades and arresting 28 people along the Morice West Forest Service Road over five days earlier this month. 

Seven of those were arrested at the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, including Karla Tait, volunteer director of clinical programming. 

In a news release, Tait questioned the timing of the province’s directive. 

“It is very distressing, after we’ve faced assault rifles and endured arrests at the beckoning of CGL, to now be advised by EAO to work collaboratively with them to address these gaps. We urge the province to take this opportunity to respect the rule of law and follow the processes laid out to protect both our rights and the environment,” Tait’s statement said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

One Year after RCMP Raid, Tensions Rise as Wet’suwet’en Evict Pipeline Company

One Year after RCMP Raid, Tensions Rise as Wet’suwet’en Evict Pipeline Company

‘It’s unnerving that might be our reality again.’

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The Gidimt’en camp is located south of Smithers in northern British Columbia. Photo by Michael Toledano.

One year after a police raid in northern British Columbia attracted international attention, tensions between Wet’suwet’en land defenders and Coastal GasLink are rising once again.

The company’s recent victory in winning a court decision granting it a permanent injunction against Indigenous protest camps was short-lived.

On Saturday, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs evicted the company from their territory.

“Coastal GasLink [CGL] has violated the Wet’suwet’en law of trespass, and has bulldozed through our territories, destroyed our archaeological sites, and occupied our land with industrial man-camps,” a statementfrom the chiefs said. “Private security firms and RCMP have continually interfered with the constitutionally protected rights of Wet’suwet’en people to access our lands for hunting, trapping, and ceremony.”

The company confirmed Sunday that it had received the eviction notice.

“We have reached out to better understand their reasons and are hopeful we can find a mutually agreeable path forward,” it said in a statement. 

The company said trees had been felled across a road, making it impassable. “While it is unclear who felled these trees, this action is a clear violation of the Interlocutory Injunction as it prevents our crews from accessing work areas.”

Molly Wickham (Sledyo’), one of the land defenders, said last month she feared the then-impending court decision would bring more conflict.

As Wickham stirred a simmering moose stew on a wood stove in the cook tent at Gidimt’en camp, she worried the judgement might bring a repeat of last year’s RCMP raid.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Coastal GasLink an Illegal Pipeline?

Is Coastal GasLink an Illegal Pipeline?

Challenge to energy project’s approval brings threats to Smithers activist.

The $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline may face a bigger threat than the opposition of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and protests across Canada.

Smithers resident Michael Sawyer says the project lacks the required federal approvals. He has filed a formal application to require a full National Energy Board (NEB) review.

Last fall the board agreed to consider Sawyer’s challenge.

In April it will hear final arguments on the question of whether the pipeline falls under provincial jurisdiction, or if it is subject to NEB rules and assessments.

That would bring delays and “put real, tangible benefits to people in B.C., including First Nations, at risk,” said pipeline owner TransCanada Corp., rebranded this week as TC Energy.

The B.C. government’s Environmental Assessment Office approved the contentious 670-kilometre pipeline in 2014.

The project would move fracked methane from northeastern B.C. and northwestern Alberta to the $40-billion LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat.

Sawyer, a 61-year-old environmental consultant, said the prospect of a NEB regulatory review should have been considered by the B.C. Supreme Court before it issued an injunction that led to RCMP action against two Indigenous checkpoints this week.

“I wonder if TransCanada disclosed information to the judge about this jurisdictional challenge before it asked him to grant the injunction against the blockade,” he said. “The fact is that the RCMP enforced the injunction in an over-the-top manner for a pipeline that may be deemed illegal and whose permits could be quashed.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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