Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Natives Say They Will Do What It Takes to Stop Oil Sands Pipelines

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Natives Say They Will Do What It Takes to Stop Oil Sands Pipelines

Article excerpt

First Nations vow to block key pipelines

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OTTAWA - An alliance of First Nations leaders is preparing to fight proposed new pipelines in the courts and through unspecified direct action.

Native leaders from Canada and the United States were on Parliament Hill on Wednesday to underline opposition to both the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines.

The first would tie the Alberta oil sands to the West Coast, while the second would send bitumen to refineries on the American Gulf Coast.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the federal government is consulting with First Nations, and is ready to hear their concerns.

"We're making every effort to respond to the concerns we have heard on the West Coast," he said after a caucus meeting.

"I've had quite a few conversations with aboriginal leaders and aboriginal people. And I've found those conversations very constructive. They want to do the best for their communities and we want to do the best for their communities as well. So I remain very hopeful."

Some of the chiefs brushed off the federal government's appointment this week of a special envoy to look at tensions between natives and the energy industry.

Vancouver-based lawyer Doug Eyford is to focus on energy infrastructure in Western Canada, but some native leaders say he has no credibility.

He is to examine First Nations concerns about the troubled Northern Gateway proposal, as well as the development of liquid natural gas plants, marine terminals and other energy infrastructure in British Columbia and Alberta.

He will discuss environmental protection, jobs and economic development, and First Nations rights to a share of the wealth from natural resources.

"He's going to be reaching out to find out more about their interests and their concerns and to look for ways that resource development can help improve the lives of aboriginals, create more employment, create more opportunities for communities," Oliver said. …

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