Cree remove roadblock after drivers “blast through”

Cree remove roadblock after drivers “blast through”

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June 23, 2008

Members of the Kelly Lake Cree Nation (KLCN) took down a roadblock on Saturday because “angry and dangerous drivers” began blasting through, almost running over four people in separate incidents.

One of the People that almost got hit was KLCN spokesman Clayton Anderson. According to the CBC,

Anderson said he was walking toward a vehicle at the blockade on Highway 52, about 180 kilometres southeast of Chetwynd, in northeastern B.C., when “this guy just steps on the gas and practically runs me over.”

He was nicked, Anderson said, and then “these two big rigs and a pickup sped through here and literally just about running over my people.” [SEE COMMENTS ON CBC ARTICLE. PEOPLE ARE APPLAUDING IT]

The KLCN had set up the roadblock a day earlier, hoping to raise awareness about a number of health and safety concerns brought on by oil and gas exploration on their traditional lands. The roadblock was set up in conjunction with a three-day “emergency disaster preparedness drill” they organized for themselves.

Anderson explained earlier this month that the KLCN have been holding land claim negotiations with the federal government since 1994 – during which they’ve repeatedly talked about their concerns: “about the effect drilling is having on water quality in the area, as well as the heavy volume of industrial traffic roaring through the community every day.”

“Vehicles are transporting dangerous and toxic materials used in oil and gas exploration, but no one seems to have an evacuation or disaster preparedness plan in place for the community in the event of an explosion or toxic leak,” Anderson said.

“It is incredibly disturbing,” comments Green Party leader Elizabeth May, “that thus far, their concerns over water quality, industrial traffic and the transport of dangerous substances through their community have been ignored.”

“The Kelly Lake Cree should not bear the burden of negative environmental impacts or health and safety risks due to exploration,” adds Lorraine Rekmans, the Green Party Critic on Aboriginal Affairs. “Kelly Lake still relies on subsistence hunting and fishing and infringing on this activity is unconstitutional. Putting the community in harm’s way is irresponsible.” One could even say criminally negligent.

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