June 17, 2013 - 2:41 PM
Hundreds of northern BC residents rallied in Terrace on Sunday June 16th, demonstrating that public opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project is still very strong. As the Enbridge Joint Review Panel (JRP) begins to hear final arguments in Terrace, after 18 months of hearings, northerners continue to send a clear message that the proposed pipeline and tankers are not in the public’s interest.
“Enbridge cannot stop the oil from leaking, and cannot clean it up once it spills,” said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, “Destroying the ocean we all depend on is not in the national interest. We will lay down our lives to stop this project.”
Geraldine Thomas-Flurer from the Yinka Dene Alliance reminded the crowd that 160 First Nations have signed Save the Fraser Declaration, “We are the wall that is going to stop Enbridge.”
Speakers at the rally included First Nations from across northern BC, as well as provincial and federal elected representatives from along the proposed pipeline and tanker route. Robin Austin, the MLA for Skeena, representing ground zero said: “We do not want diluted bitumen crossing northern BC, not to ship it on tankers and not to any refinery.”
Skeena-Bulkley MP Nathan Cullen spoke to the crowd: “Raising our voice in a free and fair democracy does not make us radical. We say no, we will continue to say no, until we are listened to and respected. We are of this river, we are of this land.”
The message is clear: British Columbians still say no. Signs at the rally represented the diversity and strength of opposition from around the province, including the 160 First Nations, 31 municipalities, 2 regional districts, 6 unions, and over 250,000 public actions that have openly expressed opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal. Over 95% of the letters of comment submitted to the JRP opposed the project (9,150 of 9,567 letters submitted).
First Nations, community groups and environmental organizations that have been participating as interveners in the federal review process submitted their final arguments the end of May and will be responding to Enbridge’s final arguments to the Panel over the next two weeks.
Another protest is planned for Monday June 17th at 4:00 pm outside of the Joint Review Panel hearings in Terrace.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013