December 4, 2011 by staff
B.C. Pipeline, Members of a British Columbia First Nation where hereditary chiefs have voiced support for the Northern Gateway pipeline appear split over the controversial project.
On Friday, a group of hereditary chiefs from the Gitxsan in northwestern B.C. announced it had accepted Enbridge Inc.’s (TSX:ENB) offer of an equity stake in the $5.5-billion project.
In announcing the agreement, Chief Elmer Derrick heralded his community’s “trusted” relationship with Enbridge, and he estimated the deal would be worth at least $7 million for the Gitxsan.
But shortly after the announcement, a group claiming to represent other hereditary chiefs, including Geri McDougall, and four Gitxsan bands issued a news release denouncing the agreement.
The news release came from the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Gitxsan Treaty Society and the B.C. Treaty Commission over complaints about ongoing treaty negotiations with the federal and provincial governments.
The release said members of the Gitxsan nation weren’t consulted about the Northern Gateway agreement, and argued it was wrong to sign a deal before the environmental impact assessment process is finished.
“Elmer Derrick and the Gitxsan Treaty Society/Gitxsan Economic Development Corp. does not speak for all Gitxsan,” the news release said.
“The representatives say that Mr. Derrick has embarrassed and shamed the Gitxsan people by undermining the 61 First Nations who are opposed to the project. The representatives say, ‘We stand in solidarity to those opposing it.”‘
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