DUFFIELD, AB, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Chief and Council of the
1,926-member Paul Band First Nation, 50 kilometers west of Edmonton,
today stated that they generally support the responsible and respectful
expansion of Canada's pipeline infrastructure as the preferred
transportation mode for moving increased volumes of Alberta oil and gas
production to new offshore markets. This includes support for the
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, where a facts-based and
highly-respectful First Nations Community Engagement due diligence
process with the Paul Band Chief and Council, administration and
community has been underway for some time.
The Paul Band First Nation has seen seven major train derailments since
1987, including two (1995 and 2005) where major derailments resulted in
extremely dangerous and hazardous hydrocarbons, and in large volumes,
spilling into and damaging environmentally- and culturally-significant
ecosystems - ecosystems essential to the Nation's way of life.
"Everyone is an expert in the pipelines versus oil-by-rail debate, but
we know first-hand where the actual risks have been for our people over
the past few decades because we have lived it," said Casey Bird, Chief
of the Paul Band First Nation. "Trains continue to pass through our
community and through our Traditional Territories, but now carrying
very different and much more dangerous and hazardous cargos than they
have in the past. And the 'track record' has not been good, nor is it
getting any better."
"I have never lived in Toronto, but some in our community are now
beginning to say that we live right next door to the rail equivalent of
the 401 Highway, one of North America's busiest highways," Chief Bird
added. "Do these increased and more hazardous shipments - which now go
way beyond where they were when the line was first built, or even just
a few short decades ago - impact our community, our people and our
traditional ways and values? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes...and that is why
we are speaking out today."
Chief Bird concluded by reading from a prepared statement:
"Paul Band recognizes that there are always risks involved in the
transportation of liquid hydrocarbons, and this includes pipelines, but
we have lived through some pretty serious train derailments that have
only reinforced our concerns in moving oil-by-rail. We want to
publicly state that we generally support pipelines as the preferred
transportation choice - some might say the lesser of two poisons, but
clearly the lower risk option - for shipping increased volumes of oil
through our Traditional Territories."
"But only if this is done respectfully, with the appropriate regulatory
oversight, and through close and ongoing consultations, engagement and
involvement with First Nations communities, the true stewards of the
lands that others often see only as project development sites."
"We have seen this highly-respectful approach taken by Trans Mountain
and wish them well as they continue to go through the regulatory
Image with caption: "Paul Band First Nation (CNW Group/Paul Band First Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131212_C9962_PHOTO_EN_34902.jpg
SOURCE: Paul Band First Nation
For further information:
Dennis Paul, Senior Advisor to Chief and Council and Treaty 6 Consultations Coordinator
Paul Band First Nation
Shane Pospisil, Senior Principal and Consultations Advisor
New West Opportunities Inc.
Phone: 1-780-860-5100 or 1-416-716-2959