An alliance of the Unist’ot’en (People of the Headwaters) and the Likhts’amisyu (Hereditary Chiefs) of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have evicted a group of Pipeline Drillers from their traditional territory, sending a clear message to Enbridge, Pacific Trails and the entire oil industry: “We cannot and will not permit any pipelines through our territory.”
This press release is cross-posted from No One is Illegal
TO ALL NEWS EDITORS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release: Pacific Trails Pipeline Evicted by Unist’ot’en and Likhts’amisyu
November 15, 2011 – Setting up a road blockade with signs “Road Closed to Pacific Trails Pipeline Drillers”, an alliance of the Unist’ot’en and the Likhts’amisyu of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have evicted and escorted out Pacific Trails Pipeline drillers and their equipment.
According to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Toghestiy, “We evicted Pacific Trails Pipeline drillers from our territory this weekend. The drillers in one vehicle actually cheered for our blockade and one driller told us ;Nobody wants to see any pipelines in the North – especially one that operates as dirty as this one. Have a good day guys and good luck.’”
“Pacific Trails Pipeline had moved in equipment to do directional drilling around Gosnell River where our salmon spawn. Their exploratory drilling and whole pipeline proposal will spell certain disaster in the Peace River area. We have to protect our sensitive aquifers from the destruction of pipelines – from the Alberta Tar Sands to our side of the Rocky Mountains. You cannot make compromises with the life-sustaining force of water” continues Toghestiy.
Kloum Khun, a Likhts’amisyu hereditary Chief who also participated in the blockade, said: “We had a sign that said ‘No Pipelines’ and pointed it out to the drillers. We told them to take out all their equipment from our territory.”
The Pacific Trails Pipeline, official known as the Kitimat Summit Lake (KSL) gas pipeline, is a proposed natural gas pipeline that will move upto 1 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from Summit Lake near Prince George to Kitimat using an underground 36 inch diameter pipeline with an 18-metre right of way on each side. Much of this natural gas is acquired through the environmentally destructive process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. After processing, the natural gas would be shipped in supertankers from ports in Kitamat to the international market. In February 2011, Pacific Northern Gas sold its stake in the project to the Apache Corporation and EOG Resources (formerly Enron).
The Pacific Trails Pipeline has a similar proposed right-of-way as Enbridge Pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory. According to Toghestiy: “Enbridge is using the fact that Pacific Trails is proposing the same right of way as Enbridge to mitigate their own ecological footprint on our territory.” During a May 2011 interview with Fox News, Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel discussed Enbridge’s move into the natural gas market and the possibility of “synergies” between the Enbridge’s Gateway Project and the Pacific Trails Pipeline.
The $5.5-billion proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline would carry 700,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta to Kitimat. In August 2010, representatives of Enbridge in Smithers, Michelle Perret and Kevin Brown, received formal notice from Wet’suweten hereditary chiefs Hagwilakw and Toghestiy that Enbridge did not have permission to build a pipeline on their lands and was trespassing on unceded Wet’suwet’en lands.
Freda Huson, a spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en, says her community was not consulted about these proposed pipelines: “The corporations never informed us or consulted us about their plans. Pacific Trail Pipeline’s proposed route is through two main salmon spawning channels which provide our staple food supply. We have made the message clear to Enbridge and Pacific Trails and all of industry: We cannot and will not permit any pipelines through our territory.”
The Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en participated in the First and Second Indigenous Assembly Against Mining and Pipelines in BC. Says Mel Bazil: “The plans of Christy Clark and the BC government to push mining and pipeline developments into our territories will fail. We reject the short-term interests of profit that motivates those mining and pipeline developments that are trespassing on our unceded Indigenous lands.
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Freda Huson: spokesperson for Unist’hot’en: (778)210-1100 or (250) 847-8897
Toghestiy: (250) 847- 8897
Kloum Khun’s: (250) 847-9673
Mel Bazil: 250-877-2805