Demonstrators rallied against Teck’s Frontier mine in Alberta outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in North Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2020. (Indigenous Climate Action)

B.C. and Alberta Indigenous leaders protest major Teck oilsands project

Teck’s Frontier mine in northern Alberta would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day

Indigenous leaders from B.C. and Alberta who oppose Teck’s Frontier mine say its impact will be felt by First Nations well beyond the site of the massive oilsands project.

Members of Indigenous Climate Action, the Tiny House Warriors and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs were among those who gathered Monday in North Vancouver outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson calling on him to stop the project.

The Teck Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years.

The federal government must decide on the project by the end of February under the Environmental Assessment Act.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for swift approval of the $20.6-billion project, warning that rejection would send a signal that Canada’s oil-and-gas sector has no future, but the mine also poses a significant obstacle toward the Liberals’ goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs called the project irresponsible and reckless, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should “walk the walk” of transitioning to a green economy.

“There were commitments made during the last election that the Trudeau government would make decisive moves toward renewable energy and this is an opportunity to follow through on those promises,” he said.

Teck Resources Ltd. said in a statement that it has spent more than a decade on community engagement, including signing agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the project area. The agreements set out a framework for co-operation in areas like environmental stewardship and economic opportunities, it said.

“Teck is committed to developing the Frontier Project in a way that is environmentally responsible, respectful of Indigenous communities, and creates meaningful benefits for the people of the region,” it said.

Kanahus Manuel of the Tiny House Warriors and Secwepemc Nation said product from the Frontier mine would be transported via the Trans Mountain pipeline, which crosses 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory.

“This Teck mine will impact our community although it’s hundreds of miles away,” she said.

Wilkinson was not available for an interview, but his department said in a statement that the project is under active consideration.

“The government will consider a range of factors when they make a decision, including our commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, to creating good paying middle-class jobs, and to growing the economy,” the statement said.

RELATED: Oilsands mine in public interest despite ‘significant adverse’ effects, panel finds

A joint review panel submitted its report in July containing its conclusions and recommendations for the Teck Frontier project to the minister and the chief executive officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The panel determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would likely cause harm to the environment and Indigenous people.

It’s expected to create $12 billion in tax revenues for Ottawa and $55 billion in tax and royalty revenues for Alberta over its 41-year life. About 7,000 jobs would be created in building the mine and 2,500 workers would be needed to operate it.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trucking company fined $175K for Lemon Creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Missing Nelson woman found dead

Police say there is no evidence of a crime in the death of Heather Gunderson

Foul play involved in Slocan Valley man’s death, police say

RCMP have identified dead man as 47-year-old Aaron Graham

Details emerge on new daycare proposal from school district

Project gets go-ahead from board of SD #10

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read