Letter to Petronas From Canadian Indigenous Groups

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Click here for press release

October 25, 2016

Tan Sri Mohd Sidek                                         
Petroliam Nasional Berhad                           
(PETRONAS) (20076-K)                                  
Tower 1, PETRONAS Twin Towers                  
Kuala Lumpur City Centre                             
50088 Kuala Lumpur                                      

Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib
Adnan Zainal Abidin
President and CEO
Pacific NorthWest LNG
Park Place, Suite 2500
666 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 2X8

c.c. The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Li Chunguang, President Sinopec Corporation
Osamu Watanabe, President and Chief Executive Officer, JAPEX
B. Ashok, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Petroleum BRUNEI

Dear Sirs,

This is an open letter from concerned First Nations, community and conservation groups written as a courtesy to your companies to warn you of the growing opposition to the siting of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

In their eagerness to attract your investment dollars to British Columbia, our federal and provincial governments have failed you, much as they have failed Canadians. In your case, they have downplayed your investment risk. In our case, they have downplayed the social and environmental risks. We cannot estimate the extent of the investment risk you are prepared to take, but we can assure you that the social and environmental risks your project poses to our communities are utterly unacceptable.

It cannot have escaped your attention that the 190 conditions that our government has placed on your project prompted Eurasia Group, a New York-based political risk assessor and a disinterested party, to judge those conditions as onerous compared with the regulatory constraints that your competitors face elsewhere. This, after a lengthy permitting process that was so flawed that we are considering legal actions to have your project’s approval overturned on the basis of procedural errors on the part of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the federal Crown.

The federal and provincial governments have misled you into believing that your project has broad public support, including what B.C. Premier Christy Clark claims is the “overwhelming support” of affected First Nations people in the region. That is not the case. A recent Federal Court of Appeal decision found that Enbridge and the federal government did not adequately consult and accommodate First Nations people with respect to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project in our region. This resulted in the removal of their Environmental Assessment Certificate. We will also seek recourse through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Another domain where our governments have exposed your project is in the matter of the greenhouse gas emissions that PNW LNG will produce. The contradiction between the federal government’s conditional approval of your project, and its demand that our House of Commons ratify the Paris climate change accord, is not lost on Canadians. These are incompatible actions that can be resolved by stopping your proposed project. We vow to take domestic and international actions to hold our government accountable to its climate change commitments, which cannot accommodate approval of your proposed project - which would be one of the single largest climate polluters in our country.

Finally, the federal and provincial governments have advanced a fiction – despite peer reviewed, independent science to the contrary – that the risks to our precious salmon habitat in the Skeena River estuary can somehow be “mitigated”. We rely not just on Western scientific opinion, but on our traditional scientific knowledge in judging your proposed project to be reckless in the extreme, posing unacceptable risks to salmon – a staple not just of our diet, but of our culture. We have concluded, the only acceptable “mitigation” to threats to our salmon resources is to prevent your proposed project from proceeding.

In that light, let us close with reference to the “final investment decision” that you are contemplating making in the coming weeks or months. You are perfectly at liberty to make whatever decision you want, but understand that we have made a final investment decision of our own. Our decision is to stop the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which undermines First Nations rights, weakens our cultures, accelerates climate change, and directly threatens our most precious resource – our salmon. Our final investment decision is to invest in the protection of our salmon for future generations, and to support industry and development that is compatible with that fundamental goal.


Yours truly,


Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley), Gitwilgyoots Tribe, Tsimshian First Nation
Chief Gwishawaal (Ken Lawson), Gitwilgyoots Tribe, Tsimshian First Nation
Howard Green, Spokesperson, Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams, Tsimshian First Nation
Alimlaxha (Gary Reece), spokesperson, Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams, Tsimshian First Nation
Chief Mali, Chief negotiator for Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, Gitanyow
Chief Na’Moks, Spokesperson for We’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, Wet’suwet’en First Nation
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
Chief Ron West, Cariboo Mountain Gil Lan Ton Clan, Lake Babine Nation
Luutkudziiwus, Madii Lii, Gitxsan First Nation
Gaagwiis, Haida First Nation
Denver Cross, Haida First Nation

Friends of Wild Salmon, Conservation Coalition
Prince Rupert Environmental Society, Community Group
SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Conservation Organization
Douglas Channel Watch Society, Community Group
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, Conservation Organization
Coast Haida Gwaii, Community Group
T-Buck Suzuki, Conservation Organization
Friends of Morice Bulkley, Community Group
Northwest Watch, Community Group
Kispiox Valley Community Centre Association

Bear Claw Lodge
Kispiox Fishing Company
Fly Gal Ventures
Kispiox Valley Community Centre Association
Mykiss Fine Woodworking
Mykiss Guiding Services
Dawn Chorus B&B.

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