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

Majestic takes one year production hiatus

Bashaw theatre to focus on volunteering, collaborating and more music

Council trucks excess revenue to repairs

Extra flush truck funds divided up between shared costs

Stettler County awaits Summer Village responses on possible amendment to Buffalo Lake development plan

Amendment could allow for more lots at the controversial Buffalo Lake RV Resort

Atom Stars play it even in home tournament

Bashaw doesn’t make the final after finishing at 2-2

Flush truck partnership updated

Agreement between Bashaw and two other municipalities renewed

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

What’s happening: Coronavirus forges on, as world hunts solutions

Japan closes all elementary, middle and high schools until spring holidays in late March

RCMP to stop providing security for Prince Harry and Meghan

Public safety minister says RCMP has been helping UK police intermittently since November

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Budget day: Alberta government planning to balance books, boost employment

It’s the second budget by Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP government

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Most Read