Unanimous passing of No New Oil Sands Approvals resolution at the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs Meeting.

25 02 2008

Calgary – From Wednesday to Friday of last week, Treaty Chiefs representing the Treaties 6,7 and 8 nations of Alberta met and passed a resolution, unanimously, to support the calls for no new oil sands approvals until Treaty First Nations have approved a comprehensive watershed management plan and resource development plan for the region.

“It is time for the Alberta Government to feel the pressure that our communities have been feeling for so long, the tide has turned in our favour,” said Chief Allan Adam of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation, “Thresholds have to be put in place that will protect ecosystem and human health along with the well being of our land.”

The Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan Dene First Nation and member of the Keepers of the Athabasca brought forward the resolution moved by Chief Janvier of the Cold Lake First Nation and seconded by Chief Laboucan of the Driftpile First Nation. After a few minor additions to the resolution it passed, on Friday, unanimously.

“The cumulative impacts of oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in northern Athabasca watershed. The law is clear that First Nations must be consulted whenever the province contemplates action that may negatively affect Aboriginal and treaty rights,” explains Keepers of the Athabasca member Vivienne Beisel (B.A., LL.B., LL.M), ” The province has continued to issue approvals for new developments without obtaining their consent or consulting with First Nations in a meaningful and substantial way. This is in direct breach of Treaty 8 First Nations’ treaty-protected Aboriginal rights to livelihood, and thus a violation of s.35(1) of the Constitution and Articles 26 and 27 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, and international agreement which Canada, along with three other nations, has refused to sign.”

Keepers of the Athabasca is a new non profit organization working to unite the peoples of the Athabasca River and Lake Watershed to secure and protect water and watershed lands for ecological, social, cultural and community health and well-being.
“We came to the Treaty Chiefs of Alberta meeting last week to request an inquiry into the lack of consultation by all levels of government and our peoples regarding the impacts of oil sands development.,” states Chief Albert Mercredi of the Fond du Lac First Nation, located on the eastern shores of Lake Athabasca, “Pollution from the developments do not stop at the political borders between Alberta and neighbouring provinces. The Federal Government and the Governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have a legal duty to consult and accommodate around the uncertainties associated with development and their impacts on our right to livelihood.”

Gaining the support of the Treaty Chiefs is an important step for the Keepers of the Athabasca, as there are 15 directly affected First Nations reserve-based communities as well as numerous other indigenous communities.

“In passing a resolution for no new oil sands approvals, the chief’s of Alberta have shown great leadership,” says Peter Cyprien, co-chair of Keepers of the Athabasca, who was present at the passing of the resolution, “it is our hope now, as citizens of Fort Chipewyan, that the Government of Alberta and Canada will show the same leadership,”

The Keepers of the Athabasca are committed to completing a community-based watershed management plan based on the interests, rights and needs of the residents living throughout the basin. They have planned to visit communities along the Athabasca River this summer and with the goal of completing a report on the state of the Athabasca River and Lake Basin.


No New Tar Sands Approvals

21 01 2008

We, the undersigned, represent diverse interests and individual priorities to our concern about the future of Alberta. We represent {environmental, social, conservation, labour, health, treaty rights, forestry, land use, humanitarian, water and economic concerns}; but we are united in our concern about the impact that out-of-control development of the oil sands is having on all areas of the province.

We are calling, with one voice, for the Alberta Government to take the first step for a cessation of new oil sands approvals and lease sales. The time is now to stop the uncontrolled oil sands development and deal with the environmental and social concerns that it has created.

Regardless of the reason, there is one thing we all agree on – the first step is to stop adding to the problem.

No new approvals on oil sands development!


Premier tells U.S. that environmental toll from oilsands is a “myth”

21 01 2008

WASHINGTON – Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach asked American business leaders Wednesday not to buy into the “myth” that oilsands production comes at too high an environmental cost, saying attempts to curtail it “don’t make sense.”

But he faced disbelieving protesters at every turn on the first day of his trade visit to the United States, including about 35 environmentalists who passed out flyers to guests arriving at a Canadian embassy reception.

“Stelmach should be back home cleaning up the oil industry rather than running around Washington as an oil salesman,” said Liz Butler, organizing director for ForestEthics, a Canada-U.S. based organization.

“The U.S. does not want Canada’s dirty oil.”

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Court Case on Oil Sands Set to Start in Canada

15 01 2008

January 14, 2008 2:19 p.m.

The battle between oil exploration and its inevitable environmental impact is coming to loggerheads in the Great White North, as proceedings in a federal court in Alberta begin tomorrow to determine whether a new oil sands field met critical environment requirements.

The judicial review, currently scheduled to last four days, is over the Kearl Tar Sands project, part of one of the second largest proven oil reserves in the world. It’s located in the Alberta region, about 70 km north of Fort McMurray, and is ultimately expected to produce 300,000 barrels of bitumen, the heavy oil recovered from oil-sands deposits, a day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.-owned Imperial Oil, Canada’s largest petroleum company, is facing allegations that it has not sufficiently game-played the degree and the length of time to which the project could adversely impact the surrounding environment and that a government panel last year was wrong when it said the company had.

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Environmentalists target jet fuel derived from Alberta oilsands

12 01 2008
Gordon Hamilton, January 11, 2008, Vancouver Sun — An American environmental lobby group launched a campaign Thursday against airlines using fuel derived from the Alberta oilsands, using the same tactics that proved so successful in limiting clearcut logging in B.C. rainforests.
The Washington D.C.-based Natural Resources Defense Council said it is pressuring 15 major U.S. and Canadian airlines to publicly oppose the use of jet fuel made from oilsands, liquefied coal and shale oil.

Conservation groups in the U.S. and B.C. developed their campaign model on the B.C. Coast.

American purchasers of B.C. lumber and paper products, such as Home Depot and Victoria’s Secret, were pressured to alter their buying by campaigns targeting them as environmentally unfriendly.

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