The fight against Enbridge’s plans to build a pipeline through the heart of aboriginal territory got a recent boost when the Dene Nation, comprising 35 chiefs whose territory stretches from northern Alberta through the Northwest Territories, passed a resolution supporting the British Columbia Yinka Dene Alliance’s opposition.
“This resolution is an expression of our solidarity with the Yinka Dene Alliance, and an expression of our support for their right to have decision-making power over developments on their land,” said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus in a July 21 statement. “More than 50 percent of the proposed Enbridge pipeline and tanker route passes through the territories of First Nations that have banned this development according to their traditional laws. These Nations now have the support of Dene from northern Alberta to the Arctic coast.”
The Yinka Dene Alliance, whose five First Nations lands lie on about 25 percent of Enbridge’s proposed right-of-way, has already resoundingly rejected financial incentives that are the oil giant’s attempt to get them to allow the pipeline to go through their territory.
Headed by Chief Jackie Thomas of the Saik’uz First Nation, a First Nations delegation even traveled to Brussels earlier this month to urge the European Union not to invest in the Alberta oil sands.
The $5.5 billion pipeline would bring crude from the oil sands of Alberta, through British Columbia to the Pacific coast.
Enbridge has not helped its case with recent spills in Michigan and the Norman Wells pipeline in the Northwest Territories. And the industry is not doing much better, with 100 incidents and accidents documented by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada over the past two years on federally regulated pipelines for both oil and gas, according to Postmedia News.