Mi'gmaq go to Court to Protect Territory from Belledune Bomb Train Project

LISTUGUJ, QC, July 6 2015 /CNW/ - The Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat (MMS), representing the three Mi'gmaq communities of the Gaspe region in Quebec, filed legal proceedings today in a New Brunswick Court to halt construction of the tar sands export project at the Belledune Port being developed by Chaleur Terminals Inc., a subsidiary of Secure Energy Services Inc. (TSX – SES). The Project seeks to run 2 trains of 125 cars each (175,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil mixed with toxic, explosive agents) every day through Mi'gmaq territory, all along the sacred Matapedia and Restigouche salmon rivers and the Baie des Chaleurs, in violation of Constitutionally protected Aboriginal Title, Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights.

"For millennia, our territory has fed us and formed our identity, but these privileges come with responsibilities," said Listuguj Chief Scott Martin, Chair of the Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat (MMS). "That is especially true of our sacred duty to protect the salmon. We are determined to counter the dangerous threat this Project presents to our already under threat salmon populations, which would also be a threat against our families and communities. We have not given our consent to this risky project and the Government refuses to even consult us."

The project would transport toxic crude oil on trains reaching 2km long in unsafe rail cars over tracks that were not designed for such transport. Numerous train derailments, fires and explosions over the past few years, including one just a few days ago in Tennessee and, of course, the Lac-Mégantic tragedy 2 years ago, demonstrate that these aptly named "bomb trains" cannot safely transport toxic and explosive dangerous goods such as tar sands oil. A toxic spill into Chaleur Bay or the Matapedia and Restigouche river system would devastate the already under threat salmon population.

"Not only does the project present a number of unacceptable risks, none of which have even undergone the scrutiny of a proper environmental assessment, but there is no overriding social good involved in this project," added Chief Scott Martin. "Neither the Canadian public nor Indigenous Peoples would benefit from the expansion of the Alberta tar sands that this export project would contribute to. Scientists have clearly stated that almost all of the tar sands oil in Canada must stay in the ground to limit the worse effects of climate change, which effects would prove devastating to the Mi'gmaq way of life."


SOURCE Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat (MMS)

For further information: Media Contact: Troy Jerome, Executive Director, Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat (MMS), T: 506-759-2000, E: tjerome@migmawei.ca

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