Deal reached in northern British Columbia pipeline impasse

Business

SMITHERS — Hereditary chiefs of the Wetsuweten First Nation say they’ve reached a deal with RCMP to allow a natural gas company access across a bridge that had been blocked in their territory.

The agreement was reached today at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a day after the chiefs announced a tentative deal would see members of the First Nation observe a court injunction by allowing Coastal GasLink workers and contractors access to a work site where a natural gas pipeline is planned.

The chiefs said the meeting today was expected to discuss a Unist’ot’en healing camp, which they wanted left undisturbed.

They also wanted to discuss whether the camp could retain a gate at the site, which residents say is vital to their safety.

President of Coastal GasLink pipeline Rick Gateman, left, and director of environment, land and indigenous relations Jeff Burke, centre, look on as they await a meeting with RCMP members and hereditary chiefs to discuss ways of ending the pipeline impasse on Wet’suwet’en land during meetings at the office of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in Smithers, B.C., on Thursday, January 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito ORG XMIT: CAH402

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President of Coastal GasLink pipeline Rick Gateman (left) and director of environment, land and indigenous relations Jeff Burke, centre, look on as they await a meeting with RCMP members and hereditary chiefs to discuss ways of ending the pipeline impasse on Wet’suwet’en land during meetings at the office of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in Smithers on Thursday, January 10, 2019.

The RCMP arrested 14 people on Monday when they enforced the injunction.

They also dismantled a nearby checkpoint erected by members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who say the company does not have authority to work on their territory without consent from the nation’s hereditary clan chiefs.

TransCanada Corp. says it has signed benefit sharing agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the pipeline route. The Coastal GasLink pipeline would run though the Wet’suwet’en territory to LNG Canada’s $40 billion export terminal in Kitimat.

The interim injunction is meant to prevent anyone from impeding the company’s work until the defendants, which include members of the Unist’ot’en camp, file a response.

Pro oil and LNG export signage is seen along Highway 16 near Telkwa, B.C., on Thursday, January 10, 2019.

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Source:: Vancouver Sun – Business

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