First Nations opposition to heavy oil exports on the BC coast is unanimous, including in Eagle Spirit President's home community of Lax Kw'alaams
PRINCE RUPERT, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 12, 2015) - The Coastal First Nations say a recent announcement by Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. is misleading because it ignores unanimous opposition among First Nations communities on the BC coast.
"There isn't a single First Nation on the coast of BC that supports oil exports," said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations. "There also isn't anything new in this announcement. Eagle Spirit is bringing forward the same interior First Nations that supported the Enbridge pipeline, and glossing over the fact that opposition among First Nations who oppose heavy oil pipelines is stronger than ever."
Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. President, Calvin Helin, is from Lax Kw'alaams, a First Nation community located North of Prince Rupert whose territory includes the proposed location of the company's export terminal at Grassy Point. First Nations leader and Mayor of Lax Kw'alaams, Gary Reece, has made it clear in conversations that his community does not support oil exports through its traditional territories.
Lax Kw'alaams Hereditary leadership is also opposed to the proposed pipeline.
"In meetings with Eagle Spirit and publicly, we've stated time and again that we don't want oil to come through our territory," said Murray Smith, elder and Tribal Speaker of the Hereditary Chiefs of Lax Kw'alaams. "Nothing will change our minds because the chance of losing our ocean resources is very high. We've got clam beds, we've got salmon passing through. What part of 'no' does Eagle Spirit not understand?"
Opponents of the pipeline note the fact the announcement was made in Calgary.
"Until they can stand up in British Columbia and announce that they have the support of First Nations on the coast, their proposal is dead in the water, just like Enbridge's Northern Gateway," said Art Sterritt.