Tag Archives: Petronas

Northern First Nations Band Together To Block Petronas’ LNG Plans

Gitxsan leaders of Madii Lii Camp are standing behind the Lax Kw’alaams (submitted)

Gitxsan leaders of Madii Lii Camp are standing behind the Lax Kw’alaams (submitted)

By Damien Gillis | The Common Sense Canadian, Sept 14, 2015

Several First Nations groups are banding together to block early work by contractors for Petronas’ Lelu Island LNG terminal.

Leaders of the Madii Lii resistance camp – situated atop several proposed pipeline routes in the Skeena Valley – are rallying behind hereditary chiefs of the Lax Kw’alaams Nation who have been occupying Lelu Island in opposition to survey work for Petronas’ controversial project.

“We are standing together with the Chiefs on Lelu Island in opposition to the same LNG project. Our Madii Lii territory is on the pipeline route, and their Lelu Island territory is on the terminal site. We have both said no,” said Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Luutkudziiwus (Charlie Wright) in a statement today.

“This project threatens the salmon that all Skeena River and North Coast people depend on, and we thank the Yahaan (Don Wesley) and other Tsimshian Chiefs for what they are doing for all of us.”

Hereditary chiefs hold the line

Hereditary leaders of the Lax Kw’alaams and their supporters – a group of approximately 45 in total – erected a camp on Lelu Island, in the Skeena estuary, about two weeks ago in order to halt seismic and survey work by Petronas’ contractors. The work reportedly stems from concerns raised by the Lax Kw’alaams’ elected leadership over the initially planned location of a causeway for ships visiting the terminal – which sat in the middle of vital, sensitive habitat for salmon and other marine life. The elected leaders granted permission to the contractors to survey the area for an alternate location for the causeway, but this has not sat well with a group of hereditary chiefs now leading the occupation.

They confronted the crew of the Quin Delta drill ship and a barge which moved into the area over the weekend.

According to The Vancouver Sun, “Some equipment was set up before First Nations went out to the ship and asked the workers to stop, said Joey Wesley, a Lax Kw’alaams First Nation member. The activity ceased, but the workers appeared to have trouble removing equipment from the ocean floor, including heavy concrete blocks with surface markers, he said. The ship and barge remained in their location on Sunday just off Lelu Island, said Wesley.”

Shocking Petronas audit raises fears in BC

Concerns have been compounded by recent revelations by The Sun of a damning audit of Petronas’ Malaysian offshore operations, which reveals systemic neglect of equipment and safety issues.

Moreover, while Petronas’ contractors are operating under permits from the BC government and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the federal review for the project is ongoing, after facing multiple delays owing to unanswered questions from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

The Port Authority is nevertheless warning that it will take action against anyone who obstructs survey work for the Lelu Island project – which will likely only inflame an already tense situation.

Gitxsan to take legal action

The Gitxsan leaders of Madii Lii Camp are not only backing their Skeena brethren, but they have been occupying their own territory in staunch opposition to pipeline construction and are now promising legal action of their own. “We are taking the government to court over the lack of consultation, the inadequate baseline information presented, the weak and subjective impact assessment, the current cumulative effects from past development, and the massive infringement of our Aboriginal rights,” says Madii Lii spokesperson Richard Wright.

“People are now on the ground blocking the Petronas project from the coast to far inland.”

Is ‘reconciliation’ possible amid energy conflicts?

These actions are mirrored by the Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en territory to the south, which stands in the path of several planned Kitimat-bound gas pipelines and the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. Tensions there have also grown recently, with the spectre of an armed RCMP takedown of the camp.

Despite a recent meeting between the BC Liberal government and First Nations leaders, aimed at reconciling historical enmity between the two groups, Premier Christy Clark’s key economic vision of LNG development remains dogged by First Nations at every turn. In addition to the above conflicts, the Fort Nelson First Nation recently won a landmark victory at the Environmental Appeal Board, forcing the cancellation of a major water licence for fracking, while the Tsartlip First Nation poured cold water on the notion of a floating LNG terminal in Saanich Inlet.

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/northern-first-nations-band-together-to-block-petronas-lng-plans/

First Nation Protesters Seek To Stop Test Drilling At Proposed LNG Site

Protest camp at Lelu Island. Photograph by: Facebook

Protest camp at Lelu Island. Photograph by: Facebook

By Gordon Hoekstra | Vancouver Sun, Posted Sept,13, 2015

Petronas-led proposal for Lelu Island is one of leading B.C. projects

Northern B.C. First Nation members say they stopped Malaysian state-controlled Petronas, the company behind an $11.4-billion liquefied natural gas terminal, from starting test ocean drilling in northwest B.C. this weekend.

The 33-metre Quin Delta drill ship, owned by Gregg Marine in California, and a barge were moved into the waters off Lelu Island near Prince Rupert by Pacific NorthWest LNG early Saturday morning.

Some equipment was set up before First Nations went out to the ship and asked the workers to stop, said Joey Wesley, a Lax Kw’alaams First Nation member.

The activity ceased, but the workers appeared to have trouble removing equipment from the ocean floor, including heavy concrete blocks with surface markers, he said. The ship and barge remained in their location on Sunday just off Lelu Island, said Wesley.

“Our intention is to put a stop to it. It’s a really sensitive eco-system,” Wesley said in a phone interview Sunday.

Wesley is part of an “occupation” camp — numbering 45 or so people from various First Nations — set up on the island two weeks ago over concerns the LNG project will harm salmon-rearing habitat in eel grass beds at Flora Bank adjacent to the island and to block development of the terminal.

The occupation group put out a call on Facebook during the weekend for reinforcements to help halt any drilling.

Wesley, whose family claims Lelu Island as a traditional-use area, noted that four or five workers walked onto Flora Bank when it was exposed by the low tide on Sunday, something they had been asked not to do.

Wesley said their concerns have been heightened by a 2013 internal audit that found serious safety issues on Petronas’ offshore Malaysian operations revealed in a Vancouver Sun last week.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority said Sunday it has authorized Pacific NorthWest LNG to drill as part of preliminary site work for a federal assessment. In an email, port authority spokesman Michael Gurney said they respect people’s right to express their opinion safely and peacefully, but noted they have patrol boats in the harbour and anybody jeopardizing safety will be asked to stop.

Pacific NorthWest LNG could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

The drilling vessel Quin Delta (contracted out of Gregg Marine in California by Petronas/PNW LNG and Prince Rupert Port Authority) attempted to drill in Agnew Bank. Photograph by: Facebook

The drilling vessel Quin Delta (contracted out of Gregg Marine in California by Petronas/PNW LNG and Prince Rupert Port Authority) attempted to drill in Agnew Bank.
Photograph by: Facebook

The terminal and its pipeline to northeast B.C. have been viewed as a leading project in the Christy Clark-led Liberal government’s efforts to start a new natural gas export industry to Asia.

Last spring, the Lax Kw’alaams rejected a $1.15-billion benefits package offer from the company and the B.C. government on concerns over Flora Bank.

The Lax Kw’alaams elected leadership told its members three weeks ago it had an agreement that allowed investigative drilling to find an alternative site, away from the Flora Bank. The port has said the elected leadership has agreed to the drilling work.

The company, however, has not answered questions on whether the drilling is to find another location for a suspension bridge and pier that skirts one edge of Flora Bank.

While the province has approved the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, a federal government review is still pending.

It’s been delayed several times as the agency has asked for more information about the effects of the project on salmon-rearing habitat at Flora Bank.

http://www.vancouversun.com/first+nation+protesters+seek+stop+test+drilling+proposed+site/11360879/story.html?__lsa=667e-b55f

Lax Kw’alaams Members Occupy Lelu Island To Protect Flora Banks (VIDEO)

Video: First Nations Group Occupy Lelu Island to Save Flora Banks

By Red Power Media, Staff

Lax Kw’alaams First Nation members set up camp on Lelu Island to prevent its use as a liquefied natural gas terminal.

A group led by North Coast Lax Kw’alaams members have set up a camp on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert, as part of a “peaceful occupation” of the island that is the proposed site of Pacific Northwest LNG, a consortium led by Malaysian energy giant Petronas.

A tent and camp has been set up on Lelu Island. — Image Credit: Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas On Lelu Island / Facebook.Com

A tent and camp has been set up on Lelu Island. — Image Credit: Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas On Lelu Island / Facebook.Com

The first tent was setup on Lelu Island the night of Aug. 25.

The camp was initiated by Lax Kw’alaams, Hereditary Chief Sm’oogyet Yahaan (Don Wesley Sr.), who traveled to his traditional territory with his sons Don and Joey to exercise his Aboriginal right to the territory and protect Flora Bank from industrial activity.

Video: Amazing support from other Nation

“We are there to carry out traditional Tsimshian activities such as smoking salmon, picking berries, drying halibut strips, and picking medicines such as devil’s club, and have every right to do so with Sm’oogyet Yahaan’s permission,” reads a statement from the group.

One of the concerns of those involved relates to the eelgrass on Flora Bank, an important habitat feature for salmon in the area.

“We got word that they’re trying to cut off eelgrass off Flora banks, and they’re going to try to transplant that at another location in the Skeena River here somewhere,” said Joey Wesley.

The occupation of Lelu Island, was sparked by recent sightings of a barge carrying equipment into the area for investigative work by Petronas contractors.

A barge carrying equipment related to geotechnical work for Petronas’ proposed Lelu Island LNG plant (facebook)

A barge carrying equipment related to geotechnical work for Petronas’ proposed Lelu Island LNG plant (facebook)

The group has launched the Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas on Lelu Island Facebook page to provide updates on their activity.

Many people — including  the Gitxsan, Haida, Nisga’a and Lake Babine First Nations, as well as non-native people — have been to the island.

Video: Pacific NorthWest LNG outlined some of the work it intends to do on Lelu Island during a media tour of the island.

The terminal and its pipeline has been viewed as a leading project in the Christy Clark-led Liberal government’s efforts to start a new natural gas export industry to Asia.

The $36-billion project — by Malaysian state-controlled Petronas — has been approved by the province but is mired in a federal review that stalled because of concerns over the project’s effects on Flora Bank.

Earlier this year, the Lax Kw’alaams rejected a $1.15-billion benefits package from the company and B.C. government over similar concerns.

Hereditary Chief Sm’oogyet Yahaan said they were there to tell the people of Canada and British Columbia they were not giving up Flora Bank and want Lelu Island to remain intact. “If you take away the fish, then you take away the people. It’s as simple as that,” he said, referring to the importance of Flora Bank to salmon rearing.

He notes that the Island has been used as a homestead by his people for over 10,000 years.

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