NAN welcomes Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy welcomes Ontario's plan to create jobs for the north in the
renewable energy sector through its announcement of an Aboriginal Loan
Guarantee Program.
    "Today's announcement is a welcomed first step in creating an environment
that will allow our First Nations to become proponents in power development
both as developers and owners of transmission lines as well as of local power
generation in and around their communities," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand
Chief Stan Beardy. "However, we need to ensure proposed First Nations energy
programs can be viable. To do that we will need to see the creation of sound
loan guarantees; a remote feed-in tariff that recognizes remote costs and the
inclusion of grant-based resourcing for capital needs to the loan guarantee
program before it can be truly effective, otherwise our First Nations will not
qualify for the loans."
    Beardy also said it is essential that First Nations be involved in
development of the application and review process before it is made available
in the fall of 2009.
    "We truly welcome the effort made by the ministry to create an inclusive
environment in the energy sector and we look forward to working with Minister
Smitherman to see that this occurs," Beardy said, noting there are several
major energy projects that First Nations are currently in the early stages of
developing. "The projects being considered are transformative in that they
will finally result in affordable energy for communities and because First
Nations can have a stake in the energy sector as entrepreneurs. This
announcement can also increase the potential realization of those long
discussed all-weather roads."
    Beardy is looking forward to meeting with the province to further discuss
the program.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and the Ontario
portion of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Joyce Hunter, A/Director of Communications -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952

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