Dear National Energy Board Members:
We are writing to express our vehement opposition to the National Energy Board (NEB) granting the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project’s sunset clause extension request. We understand that the NEB will be considering Enbridge’s request for a permit extension and is accepting comments from the public before making your decision.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has consistently opposed the Enbridge Northern Gateway project through resolution. We stand with First Nations whose territories comprise a majority of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker routes, and many downstream First Nations potentially impacted by the threat of oil spills, who have publicly declared opposition to the project. We remind you that representatives of well over 100 First Nations have declared opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal through the Coastal First Nations Declaration, Save the Fraser Declaration and other publicly available resolutions and media statements. First Nations have practiced uncontested, supreme and absolute jurisdiction over our resources and our lives with the right to manage our territories including our lands and waters.
In reviewing the permit extension request, we formally request that the NEB consider the Government of Canada’s recent public commitment to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which sets out in Article 32(2) that “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploration of mineral, water or other resources.” If Canada is to uphold its commitment to the UNDRIP, and all Indigenous communities who would be impacted by the proposed Northern Gateway project have not provided their free, prior and informed consent, then the NEB cannot grant the permit extension.
You must also consider that the federal government has committed to implement a north coast oil tanker ban, which would render Enbridge’s project impossible- this commitment is set out in the mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau to the Ministers of Transportation, Fisheries & Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Given that the Northern Gateway proposal relies on sailing hundreds of supertankers into the north coast to load up with diluted bitumen, the north coast oil tanker ban means that Enbridge Northern Gateway project cannot happen. This absolutely must factor into the NEB rejecting the permit extension request.
We are aware that the NEB has said it will only consider “new information” since the Harper Government approved the project in June 2013, and are confident that there is an overwhelming amount of such information available that should contribute to the NEB rejecting the permit extension. For example, the landmark study by the National Academy of Sciences on the fate and behaviour of diluted bitumen once it spills found that it sinks- this means that a spill related to the proposed Northern Gateway project could have devastating and deadly impacts on our north coast ocean and wildlife. We also ask that you take into consideration the new goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, which was adopted by the Canadian government in Paris last fall. The Enbridge Northern Gateway project would significantly contribute to global warming and the NEB must reject the permit extension request in order to ensure that Canada can meet its new goal of 1.5 degrees.
In closing, we do not consent to having risky projects pushed on the Province of BC; BC First Nations will not put their territories and waters at risk for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and crude oil tanker traffic.
On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Chief Robert Chamberlin
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
Assembly of First Nations
First Nations Summit
BC Assembly of First Nations