TransCanada Corp. has signed a project agreement with 12 hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation regarding a 900-km natural gas pipeline in British Columbia. The hereditary chiefs each represent a Wilp (house group) whose territory is affected by the $5 billion Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) project route. The agreement outlines economic and employment benefits as well as other commitments that will be provided for as long as the project is in service.
“This agreement is the product of our engagement with the Gitxsan hereditary leadership. This comprehensive agreement provides long-term economic benefits, jobs, contracting opportunities and information sharing throughout the life of the project,” said PRGT president Tony Palmer in a Nov. 29 statement. “A lot of hard work and compromise went into this agreement, and it reflects our desire to work cooperatively with the Gitxsan.”
Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Luutkudziiwus (Gordon Sebastian) explained the authority of hereditary chiefs in the Gitxsan Hereditary system.
“The Supreme Court of Canada’s 1997 Delgamuukw decision affirmed that each Gitxsan Wilp (house group) has jurisdiction over its Lax Yip (the Wilp’s traditional territory) in accordance with the Ayookim Gitxsan (Gitxsan Law),” Chief Sebastian said. “Each Wilp has the authority and power to make decisions as it sees fit for the good of the Wilp. As such, the 12 Hereditary Chiefs bargained hard with PRGT to ensure that the environment is protected, and that the agreement provides for long term benefits to each of the affected Wilp and to the broader Gitxsan Nation.”
Hereditary Chief Geel (Catherine Blackstock) said the agreement is important to the economic health of northern British Columbia.
“I envision this as a great opportunity for all Gitxsan and community people to revitalize employment in our economically depressed upper Skeena region,” she said.
PRGT has now announced 13 project agreements executed with First Nations in B.C. They include: Blueberry River First Nations, Doig River, Gitanyow, Halfway River, Kitselas First Nation, Lake Babine Nation, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Nisga’a Lisims Government, Takla Lake First Nation, Tl’azt’en Nation and Yekooche First Nation.
The $5 billion PRGT project will provide significant economic benefits for British Columbians, local and provincial governments, and Aboriginal communities as it supports the export of surplus natural gas to global markets, including:
- Thousands of short-term jobs directed at British Columbia residents.
- Opportunities for local and Aboriginal businesses.
- Millions of dollars in annual taxes to help support local services such as schools, policing, fire protection and waste management.
- Billions of dollars in new investments for the province.
Prince Rupert Gas Transmission is proposing to construct and operate a 900-km natural gas pipeline to deliver natural gas from a point near Hudson’s Hope to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG facility at Lelu Island, off the coast of Port Edward, near Prince Rupert.
Project details can be found at http://www.princerupertgas.com.
Tags: British Columbia, First Nations, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) pipeline, TransCanada Corp