The 2015 House of Assembly, the legislative body of the Haida Nation, passed a resolution expressing opposition to British Columbia’s LNG agenda and demanding that the mass export of any fossil fuel through its territory be prohibited.
Kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation said that if LNG is developed on the north coast we could see large LNG tankers passing through Haida territorial waters. Presently there are no adequate provincial or federal emergency response systems in place if a ship were to founder.
“Should there be an accident our environment and way of life will experience significant damage,” Lantin said. “Our goal is to establish a world-class, leading-edge, regional shipping management plan. In achieving this, reconciliation between the Crown and First Nations, will also be advanced.”
In 2013, the House of Assembly passed a resolution directing the Council of the Haida Nation to engage with the federal and provincial governments, and the shipping industry to explore ways to prevent and respond to marine vessel casualties. This included the development of a marine emergency response system stationed on Haida Gwaii funded mostly by the shipping industry.
“We look forward to working with the newly elected federal government to ensure that their commitment to ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ is fully implemented,” said Lantin. “We also want to formalize the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on the North Coast, including the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. We are prepared to work with our First Nations neighbours, Canada and British Columbia to achieve this and look forward to finding positive and satisfactory solutions in these areas of mutual concern.”
In addition to the above issues, other areas of mutual concern are:
1. Waterway Management: The existing regime does not provide for adequate Haida inclusion in the management and planning of vessels travelling through Haida waters, and current vessel management does not reflect the globally significant, ecological and cultural values of the region. In addition, the current management of vessel traffic is not aligned with the Haida Gwaii Marine Use Plan.
2. Environmental Stewardship: There is no environmental assessment or stewardship process that reflects emerging science and policy regarding the cumulative impact of the proposed LNG and oil pipeline projects.
3. Emergency Preparedness and Response: Emergency response capacity in the region has lagged as major vessel traffic continues to grow. Comprehensive emergency plans that increase regional and sub-regional response capacity are urgently needed.
Simon Davies – Council of the Haida Nation, Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 250.559.4468 or 250.637.1130