Demonstrators rallied against Teck’s Frontier mine in Alberta outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in North Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2020. (Indigenous Climate Action)

B.C. and Alberta Indigenous leaders protest major Teck oilsands project

Teck’s Frontier mine in northern Alberta would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day

Indigenous leaders from B.C. and Alberta who oppose Teck’s Frontier mine say its impact will be felt by First Nations well beyond the site of the massive oilsands project.

Members of Indigenous Climate Action, the Tiny House Warriors and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs were among those who gathered Monday in North Vancouver outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson calling on him to stop the project.

The Teck Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years.

The federal government must decide on the project by the end of February under the Environmental Assessment Act.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for swift approval of the $20.6-billion project, warning that rejection would send a signal that Canada’s oil-and-gas sector has no future, but the mine also poses a significant obstacle toward the Liberals’ goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs called the project irresponsible and reckless, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should “walk the walk” of transitioning to a green economy.

“There were commitments made during the last election that the Trudeau government would make decisive moves toward renewable energy and this is an opportunity to follow through on those promises,” he said.

Teck Resources Ltd. said in a statement that it has spent more than a decade on community engagement, including signing agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the project area. The agreements set out a framework for co-operation in areas like environmental stewardship and economic opportunities, it said.

“Teck is committed to developing the Frontier Project in a way that is environmentally responsible, respectful of Indigenous communities, and creates meaningful benefits for the people of the region,” it said.

Kanahus Manuel of the Tiny House Warriors and Secwepemc Nation said product from the Frontier mine would be transported via the Trans Mountain pipeline, which crosses 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory.

“This Teck mine will impact our community although it’s hundreds of miles away,” she said.

Wilkinson was not available for an interview, but his department said in a statement that the project is under active consideration.

“The government will consider a range of factors when they make a decision, including our commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, to creating good paying middle-class jobs, and to growing the economy,” the statement said.

RELATED: Oilsands mine in public interest despite ‘significant adverse’ effects, panel finds

A joint review panel submitted its report in July containing its conclusions and recommendations for the Teck Frontier project to the minister and the chief executive officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The panel determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would likely cause harm to the environment and Indigenous people.

It’s expected to create $12 billion in tax revenues for Ottawa and $55 billion in tax and royalty revenues for Alberta over its 41-year life. About 7,000 jobs would be created in building the mine and 2,500 workers would be needed to operate it.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

College finds a new president

Promotion comes from within

Kitamaat women complete the three-peat at All Native

Haisla team unstoppable in final as they rout Hazelton; Adelia Paul back to back MVP

No injuries reported following Kitimat Scotiabank robbery

RCMP release image of man wanted in connection with robbery

Northern Health recommends self-quarantine for people returning from Hubei

The healthcare provider said it isn’t neccessary for healthy children to wear face masks

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Maggie and Tim: A residential school survivor and her son who died on B.C. streets

Part one of a two-part series on a young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

Most Read