AFN Regional Chief for NWT and First Nation Representatives Travel to Washington, D.C. to Express Opposition to Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project

OTTAWA, Sept. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief for the Northwest Territories Bill Erasmus is in Washington, D.C. today, along with other First Nation leaders, to meet with senior officials from Indian Affairs in the Obama administration regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.

AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated he fully supports First Nations taking forward their rights and interests with respect to the pipeline project: "First Nations support responsible economic development in partnership with industry but this project has been controversial from the start. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, supported by the Obama administration, calls for good faith consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples to secure their free, prior and informed consent concerning legislative or administrative measures that may affect them. We stand in solidarity with the protesters that are supporting First Nations rights."

On August 26, 2011, the United States Department of State issued an Environmental Impact Statement declaring the pipeline will have "no significant impact" on the environment, contrary to the Environmental Protection Agency's stated concerns about the environmental risks. The project is currently under a 90 day review to determine if it is in the "best interests" of the United States.

National Chief Atleo stated: "Any time the life, health, and cultures of Indigenous peoples are threatened in any way, we will speak out and stand in full solidarity.  Many representative groups and individuals, including the National Congress of American Indians and the Governor of Nebraska, have stated this project is not safe. We call on President Obama to reject this project as soon as possible."

The National Congress of American Indians has declared solidarity with First Nations in Canada opposing the Keystone XL and has directly spoken out in opposition to the project.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo. 

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

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