‘Eco-Colonialism’: Rift Grows Between Indigenous Leaders and Green Activists

Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation.

Indigenous communities say they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree

With flowing long hair, stoic expression and tribal garb, Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in north-central British Columbia, more than looked and acted the part of an aggrieved leader in the epic fight against the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.

He was quoted in the campaign’s news releases, filed complaints to the United Nations and spoke defiantly to investors. Environmental group Stand.earth even described him as the “poster boy” for Indigenous opposition to Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline.

The $7-billion pipeline was eventually cancelled last year, but Louie didn’t actually want to sink the project. Lost in the heat of the public battle was that he really just wanted to win more money for his impoverished community than the “ridiculous” $70,000 a year being offered by the company.

Louie’s experience is indicative of a widening rift between Indigenous communities and activists over natural resources, particularly in British Columbia, the focal point of major green campaigns generously funded by U.S. interests to thwart oil and gas exports.

The campaigns consistently portray a united Indigenous anti-development front and allies of the green movement, but some Indigenous leaders are becoming alarmed that they could be permanently frozen out of the mainstream economy if resource projects don’t go ahead.

They said in interviews they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas, recruiting token members to front their causes, sowing mistrust and conflict, and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree.

“The best way to describe it is eco-colonialism,” said Ken Brown, a former chief of the Klahoose First Nation in southwestern B.C. “You are seeing a very pervasive awakening among these First Nations leaders about what is going on in the environmental community.”

For instance, Louie is now one of the leaders of the proposed $17-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline, a Northern Gateway alternative championed by First Nations.

“When I went after Enbridge we were trying to gain more benefits for major projects going through our country,” he said.

Word soon got out about his differences with Enbridge and he was approached by a handful of lawyers representing green organizations who promised him assistance and funding, Louie recalled.

Their partnership ended bitterly because the two sides had conflicting objectives. He wanted better benefits; the activists wanted the project to fail.

The eventual failure of Northern Gateway was just one of a series of tipping points in recent months that worry some Indigenous leaders.

There was also the demise of Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG, as well as the continuing challenges faced by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and other proposed LNG projects. These cancellations and obstacles are celebrated by activists, but also wiped out jobs and revenue for First Nations.

Calvin Helin is chairman and president of the proposed Eagle Spirit pipeline, conceived and backed by First Nations groups and individuals.

Eagle Spirit also faces difficulties. Led by Indigenous lawyer Calvin Helin and supported by First Nations along the proposed route through northern B.C., the project will collapse if the federal government goes ahead with a tanker ban that is making its way through Parliament.

The ban is related to the Great Bear Rainforest, which was created by the B.C. government last year to conserve a big part of the province’s northern and central coast.

Both initiatives are seen by greens as big achievements, but are disputed by First Nations such as the Lax Kw’alaams, who said they were advanced without proper consultation and prevent their members from making a living.

Brown’s experience with environmental activism started about a decade ago, when he was chief of his tribe and supported two run-of-river hydro projects.

The projects were attacked by groups such as Save Our Rivers and Western Canada Wilderness Committee for being harmful to fish habitat, and Brown’s band was criticized for being “sellouts and socially irresponsible people looking for the quick buck,” he said.

“What an onslaught it was. There was a high level of participation from people who had never been to the region … and they were all conveying the same narrative: ‘The sky is falling, keep your blood money, corporations are evil.’”

Brown, who now runs a consulting company, said similar tactics are used against other projects, too.

“If First Nations communities are willing to conform to the prescribed eco-narratives, they are going to get all kinds of accolades and praise, but if they don’t conform, it’s vitriolic hit pieces on these people,” he said.

Louie is still shaken by the backlash he experienced. After complaining to activists they were only using him to advance their cause, he said he was blackballed.

“Workers were spreading the word that I am not a good man, that I am there to ruin the environment, that I am making money on my own,” he said. “They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I wouldn’t be struggling to pay for my car payments.”

Louie said he joined the Eagle Spirit project to achieve what he couldn’t with Northern Gateway: help his tribe become economically self-reliant.

Martin Louie in 2012 leading a protest against Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I would not be struggling to pay for my car payments – Martin Louie

Environmental organizations and Indigenous communities in recent years have found common cause in opposing some projects and in fighting the impacts of capitalism on the environment, said Dwight Newman, Canada research chair in Indigenous rights at the University of Saskatchewan.

A big reason is that Indigenous people have unique legal rights and by working with them, green groups are better able to block developments than if they relied on environmental grounds alone, he said.

Section 35 of Canada’s constitution states the Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and, where it anticipates adverse impacts, to accommodate to the extent reasonably possible.

So far, the law has been used against development, but one of the unknowns is whether Indigenous communities will use it to pursue economic development and override the environmental laws that block projects such as Eagle Spirit, Newman said.

“At some point, these arguments will end up in the courts, either directly as rights claims or as claims that there ought to have been consultation on potential effects on such rights,” Newman said in an article for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

“And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from development.”

And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from developmentDwight Newman

Many conservation campaigns rely on U.S. funds because there is more money available there due to tax laws and an abundance of wealthy philanthropists.

Vancouver-based researcher and blogger Vivian Krause has tallied the large sums poured by U.S. groups to fight pipelines and gas projects in Canada by analyzing tax filings.

The biggest funder has been the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has granted more than $190 million to First Nations, environmental and other organizations working in B.C., Krause said.

The top recipient of funds from the Moore Foundation is Tides Canada, which received at least $70 million, she said. Tides Canada spends that money internally and re-grants it to other groups, particularly First Nations organizations.

Other big U.S.-based funders are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.

“These American interests are trying to stop these projects any way they can, and one of the best ways is by leveraging the constitutional rights of First Nations in the courts,” Krause said.

The former United Nations worker said she pursued the research because of pleas for help from Indigenous leaders “who want jobs and social and economic prosperity (and) are sick and tired of what they call the paid protesters.”

One of those leaders is Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska, and a member of Eagle Spirit’s Chiefs Council. He’s disappointed the federal government is giving more weight to environmentalists than to the needs of Indigenous communities.

“We were totally taken aback and surprised by the announcement of this tanker ban because of the government’s statement that they were going to include First Nations,” he said. “No one got consulted.”

Eagle Spirit would create jobs and opportunities “that people never had” in a region where other industries such as fishing, forestry and eco-tourism are doing badly, he said.

Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska.

Alexcee, 70, said many in his community don’t support green campaigns. He said activists have come to the region in big numbers and picked “token” members to advance their causes.

Relations between activists and Indigenous people got really ugly in nearby Prince Rupert, in the territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

The community was initially opposed to a liquefied natural gas project proposed by a consortium led by Malaysia’s Petronas because of its location on Lelu Island, which they believed would threaten juvenile salmon.

They became supporters after negotiating bigger benefits and getting the project to re-locate.

But a small group of opponents continued to protest. Their frontman was Donnie Wesley, who claimed to be a hereditary chief and led an occupation of the site. That opened the door for activists to come in and offer band members funds and assistance to defeat a high-profile target, said Mayor John Helin.

Dozens of “professional protesters” travelled to the area from as far away as California with funding from groups such as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, which, in turn, was getting money from Tides and the Moore Foundation.

“More or less, they called me a traitor,” Helin said.

Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor – Ray Jones

Petronas pulled the plug on the $36-billion venture this summer, which meant $2 billion in benefits over 40 years for the band were lost.

The Lax Kw’alaams chided Wesley for misrepresenting himself as a hereditary leader. The dispute over who represented the community ended up in court. Wesley lost and is appealing.

Greg Knox, executive director of Terrace, B.C.-based SkeenaWild, said there is a wide range of perspectives in Indigenous communities and while some may feel they lost opportunity when Petronas cancelled its LNG project, others were relieved because salmon were no longer threatened.

“This project was proposed for a terrible location,” Knox said. Many other LNG projects were also proposed, but “this was the only one that people were concerned about and there was big opposition to.”

His group also campaigned against Northern Gateway and supports the tanker ban, he said, but doesn’t have a position on Eagle Spirit yet because it doesn’t have enough information.

Stand.earth brags on its website that it has delayed or stopped 21 “dirty oil pipelines and train projects.” But it relied on Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, to confront Kinder Morgan Canada chief executive Ian Anderson at a recent Vancouver Board of Trade event promoting the $7.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I do not welcome you onto my territory. You are not welcome on my lands, and you certainly cannot be doing business here without Tsleil-Waututh consent,” George said, according to a statement distributed by the group.

“It’s really Indigenous nations protecting their land that allows us to win these fights,” said Stand.earth campaigner Hailey Zacks, noting 150 First Nations in Canada and the U.S. are opposed to the project.

For its part, Kinder Morgan said 42 directly impacted Indigenous communities are supportive of the pipeline expansion and have signed benefits agreements.

What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it – Hailey Zacks, Stand.earth campaigner

Zacks couldn’t speak to that, but said, “What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Haida Gwaii is one community known as a hostile place for development of all kinds — and for those who dare to promote it.

Hereditary chief Ray Jones, 66, was harshly castigated for doing consulting work for Northern Gateway, which would have included tankers sailing to and from Asia, potentially impacting the island.

A former captain in the fishing industry with intimate knowledge of the coast, the 66-year-old said he supported the shipment of oil and gas and any other work that promised desperately needed employment.

His contract job with Enbridge involved building communications between the island community and the company, he said.

But Jones was up against powerful forces. Haida Gwaii’s leadership worked closely with activists, he said, “a whole pile of them,” particularly from the David Suzuki Foundation, visited the area regularly and influenced the local population.

The foundation did not respond to an interview request.

The community was so close-minded about getting an alternative point of view, few even asked him what his job with Enbridge involved, Jones said.

“Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor,” he said. “I have two sisters who don’t talk to me. I have had people call me the village clown, a lot of derogatory things. I’ve had my tires slashed, I’ve had somebody key my car. It’s ugly.”

The same attitude has killed other jobs, pushing young people away and leaving the rest with nothing to improve their lot, he said.

“I always tell my grand children, get a damn good education because I don’t know what you kids are in for in your life,” Jones said. “We lived in a good time.”

By: Claudia Cattaneo – Jan 4, 2018.

[SOURCE]

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Social Movements Played A Huge Part in Derailing Energy East

(Lauren McCallum / CBC)

Yes, the cancellation was a business decision. But thousands of activists were instrumental in its delay

In the wake of TransCanada’s announcement that it will no longer be pursuing Energy East, a familiar chorus of politicians have emerged to blame various actors for the pipeline’s demise.

Conservative MPs and premiers pointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Leadership hopefuls for Alberta’s United Conservative Party framed it as a direct failure of Premier Rachel Notley. And federal Liberals explained itvaguely as a “business decision” based on “market conditions.”

This blame game, however, has largely ignored the significant role social movements played in derailing the pipeline. Indeed, thousands of concerned citizens have been working to change the discourse and timelines surrounding this project since it was first floated back in 2012.

Years of delay

The pipeline was originally scheduled to be approved by the end of 2014 and in operation by the end of 2018. Instead, delays won by Indigenous communities, grassroots groups, labour unions and NGOs prevented Energy East from being built when it was still economically and politically feasible, back when the price of oil was well north of $80 per barrel.

These delays also created space for Energy East opponents to carve out new expectations of the environmental and social burdens of proof needed for an energy project’s approval, making it even harder to build.

Two events in particular each drove about two years of delay. First, there was the September 2014 grassroots-funded legal challenge on risks to beluga whales at the project’s proposed Cacouna Marine terminal, which triggered a long process of TransCanada trying and failing to find a new Quebec location acceptable to the public.

And second, there was the Charest Affair, where an apparent conflict of interest called into question the overall validity – and legality – of the National Energy Board’s hearing on Energy East, causing delays.

But neither Cacouna nor Charest would have translated into long-term suspensions if not for the public’s ability to run with them. As with Standing Rock and Northern Gateway before it, Indigenous communities led this charge.

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, the Iroquois Caucus, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Grand Chief of Treaty 3 and the Kanehsatà:ke Mohawks — alongside many individual nations and Indigenous activists — opposed the project with everything from lawsuits, to speaking tours to direct action.

We saw grassroots marches touring the pipeline route each summer using theatre to raise awareness, protestor takeovers of NEB hearings and TransCanada meetings, youth co-opting selfies with Trudeau to create viral video fodder and an unlikely crew of trade unions, municipalities, French language advocacy groups and professional associations all taking stances against the pipeline.

Approval process review

It is this groundswell of opposition that created the political space for policy-oriented opponents to Energy East to successfully advocate for a review of the National Energy Board’s approval process, and for new interim measures to be applied to Energy East. Among them was the consideration of the climate change impacts of the project — something that, ideally, would be a given for an environmental review of a fossil fuel project.

The pipeline’s new review, if it had been restarted, would have been the first to include consideration of greenhouse gas emissions both up- and down-stream from the project. These added requirements, in combination with the dour economic outlook for bitumen export and the risks of direct action during construction, mean Energy East has become impossible to build. So yes, the cancellation of Energy East was a business decision, but it was one made in a landscape that’s been successfully engineered by social movements.

For those concerned about the risks to the 2973 waterways Energy East would cross, the rights of the 180 Indigenous nations whose territories it would impact, the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 21 million cars it would facilitate and the lack of demand for new oil sands export capacity, the death of Energy East is something to be feted.

But be sure to ground your touchdown dance or celebratory round of kombucha in the recognition that this was one of the easier fossil fuel mega-projects to stop. Of the oil sands pipeline proposals made in the last decade, Energy East has always had the most questionable economic prospects and held the most risk for the Quebec-dependent Liberal government.

Bigger challenges lie ahead in stopping already-approved pipelines such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3, new upstream fossil fuel projects like Teck’s Frontier oil sands mine, and in pushing for the bold and equitable solutions needed to get to a zero-carbon society. Before we get back to work, let’s be sure to stake out Energy East as a victory for collective action, lest Trudeau, Notley or low oil prices get all the credit.

By Bronwen Tucker, for CBC News Posted: Oct 12, 2017

[SOURCE]

Private Property Home to Growing Initiative Opposing Proposed Enbridge Pipeline

Camp Makwa - Line 3 Front Line Camp/Facebook

Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp 

CLOQUET, MN –Dozens are gathering in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 proposed crude oil pipeline. Protests over the controversial project in Douglas County, Wis., have resulted in a number of arrests.

Right now, several routes are at the center of public hearings. One group of protesters who call themselves water protectors is recalling Standing Rock as they voice their opposition.

One of the proposed Line 3 routes would travel through the Fond du Lac Band’s land, which is where The Makwa Initiative is underway. One Ojibwe grandmother says Makwa means black bear in Ojibwe.

Fond du Lac Band member Jim Northrup III is among the growing members of the Initiative.

“They’re here, they’re serious,” water protector, Northrup III, said.

Northrup is the son of late world-renowned author and poet, Jim Northrup, and says Makwa is bound to become as big as Standing Rock. He says he is happy to see the water protectors return the favor after spending a year at Standing Rock.

“It’s like these are the ones that are watching, watching – trying to watch over this water,” Northrup III said.

The Makwa Initiative is on 30 acres of privately owned land that falls within the Fond du Lac Band’s boundaries. It started as a gathering of several people, but we are told the gates have opened to nearly 150 people gathering on weekends.

“I know it so much where I’m willing to die for this,” water protector, Dallon White, said.

The growing initiative has caught the attention of St. Louis County. In a letter to the landowner, Scott Kretz, the county lays out the permits needed to be filed if he wants to use his property as a camp.

Kretz claims he is simply opening his place to hunting, gathering and traditional practices.

“Are they going to take the rights of property away from me for doing this?” water protector, Scott Kretz, said.

In its letter, St. Louis County says a campground application ensures trash is properly disposed of and sewage is properly treated in order to prevent pollution at the site.

According to a St. Louis County spokesperson, there are parts of Cloquet where the mailing address is Cloquet, but the location still falls within St. Louis County; that is the case when it comes to Kretz’s land.

“They’re going to punish me because I’ve allowed people to come visit me in this common cause? Where’s the harm?” Kretz said.

Northrup says they are there to protect the earth’s resources against fossil fuels.

“I come home and they’re trying to put in another line or remove their line. Nobody knows what they’re really doing. But I’m ready to set aside more because that’s what I did for Standing Rock.”

KBJR 6 was not allowed into the entirety of the site due to concerns of St. Louis County using our footage against those on-site. KBJR 6 was told all water protectors are welcome to join the Initiative.

The Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp’s Facebook page says supplies can be sent to 3868 Brevator Road, Cloquet MN 55720. The Facebook page links to a legal fund in their about section.

We asked Barry Simonson, Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project Director, if the company was prepared for a Standing Rock situation happening at the site, and Simonson said he did not think anyone wants that to happen.

“We at Enbridge have been operating in Minnesota for over 65 years. We live here, and I work and live here, and Minnesotans live and work in Minnesota. So I don’t think anyone wants that to happen,” Simonson said.

The Enbridge Line 3 project has already been approved in Wisconsin, but has yet to be approved in Minnesota. The Line 3 Pipeline carries Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin.

(Reporter/Writer: Ramona Marozas, Photographer: Michelle Alfini, Editor: Anthony Larson)

By KBJR 6, Posted: Sep 25, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Pipeline ‘Man Camps’ Loom over B.C.’s Highway of Tears

An industry camp for workers on a pipeline near Rainbow Lake, Alta. is shown on Jan. 27, 2013. Photo by Jason Woodhead on Flickr Creative Commons.

Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation is nestled on the banks of Stuart Lake in north-central British Columbia, surrounded by rolling foothills and tall trees.

It is a relatively remote community, breathtaking in scenery and dependent on economic opportunities in forestry, mining, and pipeline development. It is a community bracing for major change.

Over the next decade, as many as 6,000 new energy industry workers could descend upon the region. The prospect of such a big influx of workers living in nearby “man camps” has aroused fears of increased violence and drug use.

The influx could more than double the population of about 4,500 in the Fort St. James area, which includes the municipality, rural communities and First Nations. Nak’azdli has just 1,972 members living both on and off reserves. The nearest city, Prince George, is 160 kilometres away.

To get ahead of the documented challenges that accompany an influx of temporary workers from outside the region, the Nak’azdli and Lake Babine First Nations are creating two full-time positions, funded by the B.C. government, to help them prepare.

Nak’azdli Band Councillor Ann Marie Sam says if several industrial project proposals go ahead as planned over the next decade, as many as six new work camps, housing up to 1,000 workers each, could be built within 60 to 100 kilometres of the community.

Among the proposed projects are TransCanada’s: the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the North Montney Mainline pipeline and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. The company is reviewing the Prince Rupert project, however, because Pacific NorthWest LNG announced in July that it would not proceed with a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Port Edward, B.C. due to economy uncertainty.

The Nak’azdli band had also expressed opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would have run through its territory had it not been rejected by the federal government last year.

The danger of bringing in “man camps”

The “man camps” are precisely what their name implies: work camps housing mostly male employees working on resource development projects.

There were more than four men for every woman working in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas industries in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal Liberal government is now reviewing Canada’s conservation laws and is expected to tackle this issue. In June, it recommended changes to environmental assessments to require a gender-based analysis of an industrial project’s impacts.

When the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project was under review, community members expressed concern about two camps slated for construction in the traditional territory of the nearby Lake Babine First Nation. The Lake Babine and Nak’azdli nations found common cause, as Nak’azdli’s traditional territory hosts mining and forestry camps already.

The two nations commissioned a joint report, funded by B.C.’s Department of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, with research by the consulting company Firelight Group. Statistics from the study, released in February 2017, indicate that industrial camps are associated with increased rates of sexual assault and violence against Indigenous women, along with addiction, sexually transmitted infections, and family violence.

“The potential for sexual assault, violence, disappearances, (sexually transmitted diseases), increases with the number of trucks on the road,” study author Ginger Gibson told National Observer. “There’s a whole whack of issues that don’t get considered until construction is happening and that’s too late.”

The final report recommends governments and agencies consider legislation, programs and services to address problems associated with industrial camps, and plan for integrated service delivery in advance of resource development projects. It also states a need for governments to allocate new financial and human resources to health, social services, and housing in the region.

Specific recommendations, from provision of addiction counseling to building recreational facilities, are designed to prevent problems and to address them when the do occur.

In an email, a spokesperson for TransCanada wrote that the company regularly engages with Indigenous communities and would continue to do so throughout the life of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Although TransCanada says it attended an info session during the research phase of the industrial camp report, it wouldn’t provide further comment on the findings.

The B.C. government didn’t respond to requests from National Observer for comment for this article.

A view of Stuart Lake in north central British Columbia. This area is home to the small Nak’azdli First Nation, which is bracing for challenges that can accompany an influx of energy workers. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

‘Rigger culture’ puts Indigenous women at risk?

The Firelight Group’s research included discussions with local community members about the experience of Indigenous women living near construction camps.

“There’s a ‘rigger culture’ that exists, where a lot of people are working together in a hyper masculine context and they’re not really taking care of themselves — they might be drinking and doing drugs, and then they’re blowing off steam,” said Gibson.

“They’re not in their home community and they don’t think about the (local) people as their family or neighbours so they don’t treat people very kindly.”

Following the findings of the study, Nak’azdli leadership is looking at ways to prepare for the next influx of workers. Community members talk about preparing to welcome newcomers to their territory. Industry representatives talk about working with Indigenous groups to provide local cultural competency courses to their employees.

The Nak’azdli Health Centre is assembling rape kits to gather physical evidence after assaults.

Coun. Ann Marie Sam says planning for assaults is an unfortunate necessity.

“When we started developing rape crisis plans the first question for me was, ‘Why do we have to tell our women we can’t protect you and sexual assaults are going to happen? And when they do, we’re going to have a plan for you,'” she said in an interview. “I thought it was so unfair for our community to have to do that.”

Community leaders worry that nearby women and children could be a target for workers who parachute into the area.

Sam recalled seeing an unfamiliar woman in town about a year ago when she was out walking with one of her daughters.

“I watched her, wondering who she was. One of the delivery trucks from the (Mount Milligan) mine was coming through town, driving fast, saw her, slams on the breaks, dust on the road and stops beside her. She gets in the truck and I don’t know whose daughter that was — if she was a mother, or whose sister that was. But that really struck me.”

Sam said she wondered if the driver solicited the young woman for sex. “Who do you report that to? I didn’t report it because I didn’t know who she was and I didn’t know what happened to her.”

Among risks identified in the Firelight report are increased rates of sexually transmitted infections. The Nak’azdli Health Centre is launching an awareness campaign and promotes STI testing for both workers and community members.

“We want to welcome workers to our town but we also want to let them know that these are the rules of our town,” community health nurse Liza Sam, the councillor’s sister, told National Observer.

“They (workers) don’t have any ownership to our town, so we really want to keep our community intact with less disturbances,” she explained. “If the mine’s gonna be here or other industries, we want them to be the best they can be for community members.”

The proximity of Nak’azdli to the infamous Highway of Tears only adds to the community’s safety concerns.

Since the late 1960s, dozens of women and girls — most of whom are Indigenous — have gone missing or disappeared along Highway 16, an east-west highway spanning northern B.C. that eventually leads through Edmonton and Saskatoon before meeting the TransCanada Highway at Portage la Prairie, Man. The “Highway of Tears” takes in smaller roads in the vicinity too, explains Highway of Tears Walkers co-ordinator Brenda Wilson.

Women reach for an embrace during the Nak’azdli Whut’en’s All Nations Gathering between Aug. 4 and 6, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en on Facebook

Away from home with ‘a lot of money’

Mia is a First Nations woman in Alberta. A former sex trade worker, she said camp workers and sex go hand-in-hand. She worked in Fort McMurray for 10 years during the oilsands boom and was on call “23 hours a day.”

Mia’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

“I think the guys are maybe lonely,” she told National Observer. “They’re away from home, they have a lot of money — disposable income if you will.”

She came from what she describes as an abusive, broken home, and said adversarial circumstances led to the sex industry at age 17. She said she was encouraged to tell clients that she was Spanish or Italian, because Indigenous women were considered trash.

“The men became angry if they knew (you were Indigenous), and your value goes down significantly, so we didn’t reveal that.”

Mia described many dangerous encounters, including one with a client she said threatened to hang her in his apartment in Fort McMurray — a memory that haunts her. Employers know full well what’s going on, she added. But they don’t get involved.

“In that industry, nothing would surprise me. I can see people that may be running the camps turning a blind eye to this kind of thing.”

Mia said local women and girls in Alberta are recruited to the sex industry to service camp workers on a regular basis by pimps and escort agencies, and that locals in communities like Nak’azdli wouldn’t be passed by.

“We already know of cases where our young people have been recruited right off the reserve through the Internet. But if (a camp’s) in their own backyards, I would be very concerned,” she explained. “It’s scary. I hope that the communities are looking at ways of preventing and also educating on exploitation.”

Read full story here

September 21st 2017

FBI Raid Home of Women Who Claimed Responsibility for DAPL Sabotage


By Black Powder | RPM Staff

Friday morning federal agents raided a Des Moines Catholic Worker House where two women who’ve claimed responsibility for vandalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline were staying.

Last month, during a press conference outside the Iowa Utilities Board headquarters, Catholic workers and activists, Jessica Reznicek, 36 and Ruby Montoya, 27, revealed they secretly carried out multiple acts of sabotage including burning millions of dollars in construction equipment at pipeline locations across Iowa and other states. The two were then arrested for damaging a sign outside the Iowa Utilities Board building.

“Using tires and gasoline-soaked rags we burned multiple valve sites, their electrical units, as well as heavy equipment located on DAPL easements throughout Iowa,” said Montoya.

A burned hole was discovered at a valve site in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports, about 30 law enforcement personnel, led by agents armed with guns who identified themselves as being from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, entered the catholic workers house just north of downtown Des Moines shortly after 6 a.m.

The agents left about 10:30 a.m. with boxes and sealed bags of property they had seized. There were no arrests or injuries during the raid.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya

Reznicek and Montoya were at the house on Friday.

According to KIWARadio.com, Alex Cohen, part of the “Mississippi Stand” group that sought to halt the pipeline’s extension from southeast Iowa across the river into Illinois, said the women told him that they were kept on the front porch of the house as the agents conducted the search inside.

Cohen says the women consider some of the materials seized during the raids to be protected by the attorney-client privilege and, now that it’s in the hands of federal authorities, it will hurt the chances at a fair trial.

Both women, who remain free on bond, say they were fighting a “private corporation” and “never threatened human life nor personal property” with their actions.

In the past, Reznicek has been arrested multiple times in various protests.

Montoya was most recently charged in a protest over a pipeline in Tennessee.

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In 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline developed by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. Months of demonstrations by thousands of opponents sought to halt construction of the four-state pipeline from North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.

Trans Mountain Fight ‘Going to Be Ugly,’ Says Industry Veteran at Edmonton Oil, Gas Conference

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project’s Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 201When the shovels hit the ground, my belief is there’s going to be an uprising in Burnaby6. Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS

When the shovels hit the ground, my belief is there’s going to be an uprising in Burnaby

  • by Jonny Wakefield | May 22, 2017

Expect an “uprising” in B.C.’s Lower Mainland over Trans Mountain to further complicate Justin Trudeau’s pipeline policy, an energy industry leader told an Edmonton oil-and-gas conference Friday.

“When the shovels hit the ground, my belief is there’s going to be an uprising in Burnaby, etcetera, and it’s going to be ugly,” said Bruce Robertson, an oil-and-gas industry veteran and chairman of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. “And Trudeau et al. have got to make a decision (on) whether and how he flexes his muscle to get this thing approved.”

Pipeline politics, looming NAFTA renegotiations and Canada’s place in an increasingly uncertain energy world were among the topics discussed at Energy Visions, an annual conference organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) aimed at parsing trends in global energy markets.

Those markets are increasingly chaotic. After years of relatively stable energy geopolitics “now it feels hard to plan for the next two to three years with any certainty,” said PwC panel moderator Reynold Tetzlaff.

Pipeline politics

The fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would more than double capacity on an existing Edmonton to Burnaby route, is an open question after a B.C. election that has the pro-pipeline Liberals courting the upstart Greens in a bid to cling to power.

Robert Johnston, CEO of the Eurasia Group, said two of the proposed pipelines — including Trans Mountain, Energy East and Keystone XL — would satisfy demand for capacity.

He said that Trudeau jeopardized his party’s seats in B.C.’s Lower Mainland by approving TransMountain, making U.S. President Donald Trump’s Keystone approval an unlikely godsend for the Liberals.

“Trump moving forward with Keystone actually helps Trudeau avoid a very politically problematic move on Energy East in Quebec that could really split the Liberal party.”

If neither Keystone or TransMountain are built, Trudeau’s move to reform the National Energy Board is a “hedge” to shore up confidence in the regulatory process for Energy East.

“Trudeau feels like you’re going to need a very robust and transparent process, and probably a long one, if you ever want to get Energy East built,” he said.

If it ain’t broke…

The Trump administration’s move this week to trigger NAFTA negotiations could mean changes in how oil and gas flows across North America.

Or it could mean nothing.

Sarah Ladislaw, who specializes in energy and national security at the Center for Strategic & International Studies based in Washington, D.C., said the industry will be careful not to overplay its hand as negotiators open up the 1994 trade deal.

“I haven’t seen enough evidence that there’s going to be a lot of innovation on the energy portions of NAFTA,” she said. “I think that the strategy is not to do any harm.”

The industry might pursue an integrated model like the European Union, Johnston said, where “barrels and molecules can flow from Spain to Germany without too much restriction.”

“I think that could be an interesting discussion as we update NAFTA,” he said.

But Ladislaw said energy could be used as “trade bait” if negotiations start to go south in higher priority areas like agriculture.

“We want to leave (energy) out of other parts of the trade agreements that may be more problematic,” she said. “I think there’s still a reluctance to open up NAFTA too widely, because the question is can you put it back together again.”

Article written by Jonny Wakefield and originally posted in the Edmonton Sun on May 19, 2017

[SOURCE]

How to Fight A Pipeline: Dakota Access Battle offers Blueprint for Protest

The tactics used in North Dakota — resistance camps, prominent use of social media, online fundraising — are now being used against several projects.

Staff – Red Power Media | April 08, 2017

Prolonged protests in North Dakota have failed to stop the flow of oil through the Dakota Access pipeline, at least for now, but they have provided inspiration and a blueprint for protests against pipelines in other states.

The months of demonstrations that sought to halt the four-state pipeline have largely died off with the February clearing of the main protest camp and the completion of the pipeline, which will soon be moving oil from North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois.

Four Sioux tribes are still suing to try to halt the project, which they say threatens their water supply, cultural sites and religious rights. But they’ve faced a string of setbacks in court since U.S. President Donald Trump moved into the White House.

Despite the setbacks, Dakota Access protest organizers don’t view their efforts as wasted. They say the protests helped raise awareness nationwide about their broader push for cleaner energy and greater respect for the rights of indigenous people.

“The opportunity to build awareness started at Standing Rock and it’s spreading out to other areas of the United States,” said Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has led the legal push to shut down the pipeline project.

As protesters left the area in southern North Dakota where the Dakota Access pipeline crosses under a Missouri River reservoir that serves as the tribes’ water supply, organizers called on them to take the fight to other parts of the country where pipelines are in the works.

The tactics used in North Dakota — resistance camps, prominent use of social media, online fundraising — are now being used against several projects. They include the Sabal Trail pipeline that will move natural gas from Alabama to Florida; the Trans-Pecos natural gas pipeline in Texas; the Diamond pipeline that will carry oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee; and the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline that will move natural gas from Pennsylvania to Virginia.

They’re also being used against projects that are still in the planning stages, including the proposed Pilgrim oil pipeline in New York and New Jersey and the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana.

Dakota Access opponents have also vowed to fight against the resurgent Keystone XL pipeline, which would move crude oil from Canada to Nebraska and on to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

“A big part of our message was not just to nationalize the fight against Dakota Access, but to highlight regional issues that people are facing,” said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “To use our momentum.”

The influence of the Dakota Access protest is evident in various forms. For example, some who protested in North Dakota have gone to Texas and Florida to help with those demonstrations, according to Goldtooth. The Red Warrior Society, a pipeline protest group that advocated aggressive tactics in North Dakota, is promoting resistance in other states via social media.

There are nearly a dozen accounts on the GoFundMe crowdfunding site seeking money to battle the Sabal Trail and Trans-Pecos pipelines. The Society of Native Nations, which is fighting the Trans-Pecos, used the protest camp model from North Dakota to set up a camp in Texas, according to Executive Director Frankie Orona.

“I really believe this momentum is going to stay alive,” said Orona. “Standing Rock was the focal point, was the root of this movement. If we learned anything from Standing Rock, it’s the power of unity. It wasn’t one (tribal) nation — it was more than 400.”

Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Dakota Access opponents congregated at the main protest camp for half a year, often clashing with police to draw attention to their cause. More than 750 people were arrested between early August and late February, when the camp was closed in advance of spring flooding season.

The prolonged protest garnered widespread and consistent attention on social media, and it has filtered down, to some degree, to the pipeline protests elsewhere. That has elevated activists’ concerns from local demonstrations to a national stage, according to Brian Hosmer, an associate professor of Western American history at the University of Tulsa.

“Social media makes it more difficult to shut off the camera,” he said. “In some way, they’re their own reporters and they don’t need the networks to report it. Social media connects the tribe; it now connects all of these separate groups.”

For now, the energy industry and its allies say they’re unconcerned.

The Dakota Access movement wrote the new playbook for pipeline opponents, but it might be less effective under Trump, said Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, a group of agriculture, business and labour entities that long spoke in favour of the pipeline. Trump approved its completion shortly after taking office and he has taken other steps favourable to the fossil fuel industry while rolling back Obama-era environmental protections.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who has advised Trump on energy issues, said pipeline developers have learned to prepare for resistance, and he thinks the anti-pipeline movement will fade if protesters fail to achieve their goals and get discouraged.

Juliana Schwartz, senior campaigner for Change.org, which helps people and groups advance causes, disagrees, saying the environmental protest movement appears to be strong. A “people against pipelines” page on the group’s website recently listed 16 petitions related to energy projects — mostly pipelines — in more than half a dozen states, with nearly 725,000 supporters.

“The broader movement to stop resource extraction has taken inspiration from (Dakota Access),” Schwartz said. “I think we can expect to see this trend continue as more and more communities feel that their safety and health is under threat due to the president’s support of the fossil fuel industry over marginalized communities.”

Article written by Blake Nicholson, published in the Associated Press, on April 2, 2017

Contributing to this story were Associated Press writers Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Oklahoma; David Warren in Dallas; Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota; and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City.

[SOURCE]

Man Killed by Law Enforcement after Sabal Trail Pipeline Shooting ID’d as Chokoloskee man

Man accused of shooting at Sabal Pipeline in Dunnellon was fatally shot during a high-speed chase that ended in Floral City early Sunday morning. Photo Credit: Citrus County Sheriff's Department

Man accused of shooting at Sabal Pipeline in Dunnellon was fatally shot during a high-speed chase that ended in Floral City early Sunday morning. Photo Credit: Citrus County Sheriff’s Department

James Leroy Marker killed by Law Enforcement after shooting at Sabal Trail Pipeline 

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 26, 2017 • Updated: Feb 27, 2017

Law Enforcement officials have released the name of a suspect killed by officers Sunday, following a chase that began in Marion County and ended in Citrus County, Florida.

According to investigators, at around 9 a.m. in the 12500 block of Highway 200 in Dunnellon, James Leroy Marker, 66, of Chokoloskee was seen shooting a high-powered rifle at a portion of the Sabal Pipeline and other equipment in the area.

WFTV reports, the accused shooter left the area, and a pursuit began into Citrus County on Highway 200. Citrus County deputies, Marion County deputies and troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol were involved in the pursuit, deputies said.

The multi-county high-speed pursuit ended when a Trooper completed a “precision immobilization technique” bringing the suspect’s vehicle to a stop on the shoulder of the road, according to cflwire.com.

Police say at that time, the man pointed the weapon at a Citrus County Sheriff’s deputy. The deputies and troopers returned fire striking the suspect.

More than 2 dozen rounds were fired.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ryan Mallon, 27, who lives just yards from the crash scene, said he was inside his home when he heard “about 10 shots.”

He said he and his girlfriend, Sarah, ran outside and he “heard 15 more shots.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be investigating the shooting.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, which is standard procedure.

Last week Marion County deputies arrested two protesters who climbed into the pipeline and had to be removed by the fire department.

The Sabal Trail pipeline project is an approximately 515-mile natural gas pipeline between Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

A witness drove up on the scene and caught the shootout on video below: (Warning: Graphic language)

Story will be updated. 

Kinder Morgan Serves Notice to Landowners on Pipeline Route

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project’s Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Letters to be mailed to property owners along proposed route of Trans Mountain expansion

CBC News Posted: Feb 23, 2017

Kinder Morgan is beginning to issue letters to Burnaby, B.C. landowners whose property falls on the pipeline corridor, outlining how the project will utilize their land.

“One of the next steps in the process for us … is to get into more of the details of the route of where the pipeline will go,” said Ali Hounsell, spokesperson for Kinder Morgan “There’s about 60 parcels of land through Burnaby that the pipeline will go [through].”

The proposed route for the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline is highlighted in green. The orange trail is an alternative route — which runs through a residential area.

The proposed route for the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline is highlighted in green. The orange trail is an alternative route — which runs through a residential area.

Hounsell says the pipeline will not run through residential areas. Of the 60 parcels, a dozen are either commercial or industrial zones with the City of Burnaby owning the remainder.

“There are no individual homeowners who will be impacted by the new route,” said Hounsell. “The idea is that we are trying to minimize the disruption to individuals. Obviously, when we get to the construction phase, there will be some disruption.”

Opposed landowners

The notices are part of a draft document that was approved by the National Energy Board earlier this month. The plan requires Kinder Morgan to list the number of landowners that are affected by the project.

Anyone objecting to the use of their property can file a statement of opposition to the NEB, which could potentially reroute the corridor if the reason for the opposition is found to be justified.

But Hounsell says there are existing relationships between landowners along the corridor and Kinder Morgan.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says there's still a long fight ahead of the Kinder Morgan expansion project. (Simon Charland/CBC)

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says there’s still a long fight ahead of the Kinder Morgan expansion project. (Simon Charland/CBC)

But, Burnaby remains opposed to the project with Mayor Derek Corrigan saying the route remains “offensive.”

“They are now looking at going through the Burnaby Mountain conservation area, which is not a good alternative as far as we’re concerned,” said Corrigan. “It will have a significant impact on our conservation and park area.”

Corrigan is also challenging the notion that no residential areas will be adversely affected by the property.

“There is no way that they can bring this pipeline through a very dense urban area and not have an impact on residents in general, and some residents in particular.”

Upcoming roadblocks

Burnaby has appealed the the NEB’s approval of the project, and will argue their case in the Federal Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver is in the process of requesting its own judicial review of the B.C. government’s approval of the project.

“There [are] still significant hurdles for Kinder Morgan to achieve before this project moves ahead,” said Corrigan.

The company says it will attempt to mend its fractured relationship with the city.

“We continue to make efforts to reach out to them, and we’re hopeful and optimistic — now that the pipeline is approved — to be able to sit down and have these kind of working relationships,” said Hounsell.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kinder-morgan-serves-notice-to-landowners-on-pipeline-route-1.3997092

Enbridge Pipeline Leaks 200,000 Litres of Oil Condensate in Strathcona County

Enbridge has shut down five nearby pipelines as a precaution, the National Energy Board says. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

Enbridge has shut down five nearby pipelines as a precaution, the National Energy Board says. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

The pipeline was damaged by a third-party line strike caused by construction in the area, Enbridge says

CBC News | Feb 18, 2017

Cleanup efforts are underway after an Enbridge pipeline leaked 200,000 litres of oil condensate at an industrial site in Strathcona County, Alberta.

The Line 2A pipeline was damaged by a third-party line strike involving Ledcor and TransCanada who were doing construction in the area on Friday afternoon, Enbridge said in a media release.

Enbridge immediately shut down five other pipelines in the area as a precaution. Crews are now working to clean up the spill, which is contained in an excavation pit.

Air quality is being monitored, Enbridge says.

The National Energy Board was notified of the spill Friday at around 3 p.m.

NEB staff have been called to the site east of Edmonton to oversee cleanup and remediation of any environment effects caused by the spill.

Around 200,000 litres — or 1250 barrels — of oil condensate has leaked from the pipeline. No one was injured, there was no fire and no evacuations were ordered as a result of the spill, the NEB said.

‘There is no product that has travelled off-lease’

There is no risk to public safety, NEB spokesman Darin Barter said.

“The incident is still under investigation. All of the product is actually contained within a pit that was being excavated at the time, so there is no product that has travelled off-lease,” Barter said.

Oil condensate is a “very light” oil that is produced from a gas formation and turns into a liquid as it enters a pipeline, Barter said.

It is usually used for fuel at refiners or for other industrial purposes, he added.

Barter could not say how long cleanup would take, but said NEB staff will remain on-site for as long as they’re required.

“I know they’re making good progress right now,” he said.

“We want to see all of it cleaned up as soon as possible. It’s not in a sensitive area, it’s within a pipeline right of way. But any time you have product outside a pipeline, we want to make sure it’s done properly.”

The Enbridge facility in Strathcona County, Alberta. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

The Enbridge facility in Strathcona County, Alberta. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

[SOURCE]