Wet’suwet’en remain opposed to pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en have spoken up, and against, the proposed Enbridge Pipeline.

David deWitt with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and Greg Brown with the Pembina Institute met with council last Tuesday to go over the proposed project. Both deWitt and Brown encouraged council to host a public inquiry and to determine their stance once they have the information required.

“Do we want to shoulder the risk of the Enbridge pipeline?” Brown asked. “That’s up to our community to decide, after weight the pros and cons of each.”

Brown said that while this development will bring benefits to Smithers, including jobs, he questioned the longevity of these benefits to our region. He also said that the benefits to our job sector from the pipeline could be outweighed by the potential loss of jobs in the tourism and salmon industry.

Also brought up to question was the environmental impact of both the inland construction and operations as well as the additional tanker traffic the port would bring into B.C.’s coast.

“We know very little of what happens when heavy oil is released into a fresh water system,” Brown said. “No one, in ideal situations, has cleaned up more than 15 per cent of ocean oil spills.”

After reviewing the project deWitt said there is too much impact, even just from the construction, on the land and the water. As the pipeline has two ends he said they met with Fort McMurray and Fort Chippewan to see what the impact was. There they found an increased rate of cancer, he said, which was attributed to contamination in the food chain.

“This is something our chiefs don’t want to see,” deWitt said. “It’s not just a pipeline…the actions we take has an impact on the land, the water, the fish, and the bear.”

But denying this project does not mean that there should be no new development in the region deWitt said. This particular project just has too many environmental impacts.

“In the northwest here we’re continually seeing these projects and it’s constantly been a no to give our children jobs,” councillor Charlie Northrup said. “When are we going to start looking for a yes?”

deWitt said that there are other alternatives for development, which include bio mass energy projects and fibre-synthetic gas. A full public inquiry would provide those in the region to learn exactly what benefits their region would receive, not just Kitimat or the tar sands.

“What are we going to get?” Brown asked. “I want to know.”

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