Eagle Spirit energy corridor from Alberta to BC tidewater and on to Asian markets endorsed by First Nation chiefs
After two years of consultation, elected and Hereditary Chiefs from BC First Nations have signed an historic letter declaring their support for the development of a multibillion dollar Eagle Spirit energy corridor traversing between Alberta and BC tidewater.
The letter addresses an agreement between the northern BC First Nations and Eagle Spirit Energy. Eagle Spirit Energy was formed three years ago as a First Nations led initiative to develop the energy corridor that would transport oil and natural gas to west coast facilities south of Prince Rupert for shipment overseas.
“The energy corridor pipeline will not only benefit many First Nation communities, but will benefit the economies of B.C. and all of Canada,” said Lax Kw’alaams Hereditary Chief Alex Campbell.
In a press release, First Nations leaders voiced their support of the BC government’s position that the shipment of Liquified Natural Gas is the priority.
“We fully support Premier Clark’s five conditions for a pipeline which include safeguarding our environment and meeting the legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights,” said Chief Campbell, whose Lax Kw’alaams First Nation is located near the proposed marine terminal in the Prince Rupert area.
Exclusivity and benefit agreements along with non-disclosure agreements have been signed by those First Nations through whose traditional territories the pipeline would cross.
“This route will enable the shipment of both Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and oil,” said Wesley Sam, Chiefs’ Council Representative for the First Nations on the Eagle Spirit Pipeline. Sam added “We realize that much more work needs to be done and it is time to get on with it.”
Prime Minister Harper, Premiers Clark, Notley and Wall will receive the letter which states “our support [is] for moving forward with Eagle Spirit to continue to meet with all communities, to continue the necessary due diligence in terms of the environmental protection, to assess the viability of the project, and to clearly establish the benefits to our communities.”
The chiefs say Eagle Spirit Energy created a responsive model that would provide consultation, enhanced land and marine environmental protections and fair compensation to the government of BC, First Nations and northern communities.
The initial and ongoing participation of affected First Nations will be incorporated into the project through the formation of a Chiefs’ Council.
The parties are currently working together to determine the final route as well as completion of final binding agreements.
“This letter is historic because it is the first time that First Nations have come together with a resolution like this,” said Wesley Sam.
Sam added “As meaningful participants and owners of the Eagle Spirit project, we know that our economic future, as well as that of the Canadian economy, is best served by ensuring that oil can reach markets abroad in the safest way possible.”
In the letter, the Chiefs also stressed that oil will not be shipped by rail through their traditional territories.