July 25, 2017 – The Malaysian state-controlled oil and gas giant Petronas announced Tuesday morning that they will not proceed with a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Plant [LNG] that was heavily protested by the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations.
In a press release they state, “PETRONAS and its partners have decided not to proceed with the Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Port Edward in British Columbia, Canada.”
The proposed LGN terminal was fiercely opposed by the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations whoms traditional lands would have been severely impacted. If built, the LNG plant would have been built near Lelu Island and the adjacent Flora Bank, located entirely in the traditional territory of the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. The area is also located in the estuary of the Skeena river which is the largest salmon producing river in British Columbia.
In a previous statement by the Lax Kw’aalams they stated, “The significance of the Skeena River estuary to area First Nations cannot be overstated. Lax Kw’alaams is bound by the traditional law of all Tsimshian and up-river communities to protect the fisheries resource –including the salmon and all other species – for future generations. This is a first line of defense in respect to the aboriginal food fishery, a fishery which has sustained coastal and upriver first nations through the millennia.”
The Lax Kw’alaams say they are bound by traditional law to protect the traditional fishing grounds for future generations. “This is a first line of defense in respect to the aboriginal food fishery, a fishery which has sustained coastal and upriver first nations through the millennia.”
A one point the Lax Kw’alaams were offered $1 billion cash in exchange for the land to build the plant. They unanimously rejected the offer.
“They’re offering us benefits if we vote Yes. But we already have a lot of benefits around us—we have coho, spring and sockeye salmon. We have halibut, crab and eulachon. Those are our benefits.” ~Lianne Spence (Lax Kw’alaams)
Dob Bain, Executive Director if the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) responded to the announcement by stating, “Petronas LNG is dead in the water, just as Grand Chief Stewart Phillip predicted in May!
After years of Liberal promises that a trillion dollar payday and 100,000 jobs were just around the corner, Petronas LNG just admitted that the prolonged low price of LNG (fracked methane gas) on the world markets means the destructive $36 billion project is market-dead and cannot proceed.
The Lax Kw’alaams have been peacefully occupying a camp at Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) in the traditional territory of Sm’ogyet Yahaan, to protect Flora Bank, a tall eelgrass environment that is the nursing grounds for wild salmon juveniles at the mouth of the Skeena River. Fully grown, the wild salmon return to the Skeena to feed the many First Nations and coastal communities. Let their fight be an example to inspire us all.
This cancellation intensifies our collective efforts to put the reckless Clark Liberal era behind us. Without a government prepared to trample on Indigenous Rights and ignore climate change these projects will not succeed.”
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)