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Aboriginal Law

Legal Backgrounder – What are the Northern Gateway Court Challenges About?

Subject(s): 
Summary Of The applicants’ written arguments in the legal challenges to the Enbridge Northern Gateway approval
Author(s): 
Gavin Smith, Justine Desmond
Summary: 
The eighteen legal challenges to the federal government’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project are scheduled to be heard together in Vancouver this October, setting the stage for a historic legal battle to protect the environment and Aboriginal rights. West Coast Environmental Law staff counsel Gavin Smith and student volunteer Justine Desmond explain the main arguments at play in this storm of court challenges.
 
In June 2014, the federal Cabinet issued an order approving Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project. Eight First Nations, four environmental organizations and one labour union have launched legal challenges to the federal government’s approval of the Project. They are: Gitga’at First Nation; Gitxaala Nation; Haida Nation; Haisla Nation; Heiltsuk Nation; Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation; Nadleh Whut’en; Nak’azdli Whut’en; BC Nature; ForestEthics Advocacy Association; Living Oceans Society; Raincoast Conservation Foundation; and Unifor. The legal challenges will be heard at the same time in a hearing before the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver, scheduled to take place over six days on October 1-2 and 5-8, 2015.
 
This backgrounder provides a high-level summary of the written arguments of the Applicants that are challenging the federal government’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project in the Federal Court of Appeal.
 
The written arguments of the Applicants can be accessed in full here:
 
Publication Date: 
July 2015
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2015

Andrew Thompson Award 2014 Brochure

Subject(s): 
Andrew Thompson Award 2014 Brochure
Author(s): 
West Coast Environmental Law
Summary: 
The Andrew Thompson award was established in 2002 by West Coast Environmental Law and the Thompson family as a legacy to Dr. Andrew Thompson, and was made possible through the generosity of the Thompson family. The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a significant lifetime contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia through the law.
 
Dr. Andrew Thompson was one of the pioneers in environmental and resource law and one of BC’s foremost environmental lawyers. In acknowledgement that Dr. Thompson’s work bridged the fields of environmental and Aboriginal law and of his contributions to advancing justice for First Nations, the 2014 award recognized individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fields of environmental and Aboriginal law or to the revitalization, recognition and/or enforcement of Indigenous environmental law.
 
This publication highlights the 2014 award finalists.
Publication Date: 
November 2014
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Year: 
2014
Pages: 
2

Legal Backgrounder: First Nations Legal Challenges to Enbridge Pipelines and Tankers Project

Subject(s): 
First Nations, tar sands, Enbridge, pipelines and tankers, energy
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica
Summary: 

In a wave of legal filings between July 11 and July 14, 2014 eight First Nations from Haida Gwaii to Yinka Dene territory west of Prince George have set in motion legal proceedings that, combined with 9 court cases filed earlier this year, have the potential to stop or significantly delay the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project (the “Enbridge Project”). This publication provides details on the legal cases, and several events leading up to the legal cases.

 

Publication Date: 
July 2014
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2014
Pages: 
2
Date Catalogued: 
Monday, July 14, 2014

Legal Backgrounder Coastal First Nations Declaration and Save the Fraser Declaration

Subject(s): 
Coastal First Nations Declaration, Save the Fraser Declaration
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica, Paterson, Josh
Summary: 

In 2010, two unequivocal Indigenous-law based declarations were signed by First Nations, definitively banning tar sands crude oil tankers, pipelines and infrastructure from their territories. Nine First Nations peoples of the Central and North Pacific Coast and Haida Gwaii (the “Coastal First Nations”) signed the Coastal First Nations Declaration (March 2010), and sixty-one First Nations centred in the Fraser Watershed signed the Save the Fraser Declaration (December 2010). Signatories of the Save the Fraser Declaration have since grown to over 100.

These Declarations were prompted by a tar sands megaproject proposed by Enbridge Inc.. The proposed 1,172 kilometre-long Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers and pipelines project would stretch from the Alberta tar sands through the headwaters of the Mackenzie, Fraser and Skeena rivers to a marine terminal at Kitimat and would result in an estimated 225 crude oil and condensate tankers a year travelling through the territories of Coastal First Nations. The majority of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline route is through the territories of First Nations that have banned the pipeline using their own laws. Opposed First Nations now form an unbroken wall from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean. The following commentary examines the legal significance of the Coastal First Nations Declaration and the Save the Fraser Declaration.

Publication Date: 
December 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
8
City: 
Vancouver
Date Catalogued: 
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Environmental Assessment Law for a Healthy, Secure and Sustainable Canada: A Checklist for Strong Environmental Laws

Subject(s): 
Environmental Assessment, Public Participation
Author(s): 
Rachel S. Forbes, Josh Paterson, Jamie Kneen, Stephen Hazell, John Sinclair
Summary: 

Canadians want strong environmental laws, and they deserve an environmental assessment process that delivers on core Canadian values related to the environment, democracy, and responsible development.

This paper outlines a blueprint of what strong environmental assessment legislation must include, at a minimum, to protect those values and ensure wise decisions are made about proposed development through an effective, efficient, inclusive and robust decision making process.

The authors offer ten principles as a non-exhaustive checklist against which legislative proposals on this issue may be evaluated.

 

West Coast Environmental Law is grateful for the generous support of the Law Foundation of British Columbia.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors.

Publication Date: 
February 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
13
City: 
Vancouver and Ottawa
Date Catalogued: 
Monday, February 20, 2012

Map of BC First Nations declaring Indigenous Law bans on Enbridge and Kinder Morgan tankers and pipelines

Subject(s): 
Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, Tankers, Pipeline, BC First Nations, Map, Indigenous Law
Author(s): 
West Coast Environmental Law
Summary: 

This is a map of combined traditional territories of First Nations who have banned tar sands pipelines and tankers using their indigenous laws.

Publication Date: 
February 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
1
City: 
Vancouver
Date Catalogued: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline risks for downstream communities and fisheries

Subject(s): 
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, risks, fisheries, pipeline, condensate, Fraser River, Skeena River, Kitimat, First Nations
Author(s): 
West Coast Environmental Law
Summary: 

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal includes two 1,170 kilometre long pipelines from the tar sands in Alberta to the coast at Kitimat. The pipelines will carry an average of 525,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the ocean, and 193,000 barrels a day of condensate, a toxic kerosene-like natural gas by-product used to dilute crude oil so that it can be transported by pipeline, to Alberta.

The pipelines will cross over 1,000 streams and rivers, including the headwaters of the Fraser River (crossing the Stuart, Endako and Salmon Rivers) and the headwaters of the Skeena River (crossing the Morice and Bulkley watersheds). Each of these stream crossings will require two pipeline crossings, as the project consists of twinned pipelines. The project has the potential to seriously affect First Nations downstream of these crossings. The toxic effects of a spill could be felt for hundreds of kilometres, stretching down the entire length of the Fraser River to the sea.

Publication Date: 
February 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
4
City: 
Vancouver
Date Catalogued: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Nations that have declared opposition to proposed Enbridge tanker & pipeline project

Subject(s): 
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, First Nations, Coastal First Nations Declaration, Save the Fraser Declaration
Author(s): 
West Coast Environmental Law
Summary: 

This is a list of First Nations and First Nations political organizations that have publicly declared their opposition to the Enbridge tankers and pipelines project. In some cases different levels of government representing the same First Nation may have signed a declaration or otherwise publically communicated their opposition. All of these are listed below, however, counting individual First Nations who are part of larger tribal groups only once yields a total of over 130 ‘opposed First Nations’.

Publication Date: 
February 2012
Publisher: 
West Coast Environmental Law
Year: 
2012
Pages: 
5
City: 
Vancouver
Date Catalogued: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Save BC's Public Lands: Collected Materials Concerning the Campaign to Save BC's Public Lands

Subject(s): 
Forestry, Aboriginal Law
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica
Summary: 

In March 1999, the government of British Columbia announced that it was considering privatising and turning over up to 30,000 hectares of public land to logging giant MacMillan Bloedel (MB), and removing up to 91,000 hectares of existing private land from Tree Farm Licences 39 and 44. This deal was an out of court settlement of MB's compensation claim arising from park creation on Vancouver Island. In the settlement agreement the government agrees to pay MB 83.75 million dollars in either land or cash.

The government hired Victoria lawyer David Perry to do a series of public consultations on the settlement agreement. Perry's primary mandate was to answer the question: land or cash? All the consultations were held during a three week period in June 1999. In order to raise awareness about the settlement agreement and to encourage people to attend the Perry consultations, the Campaign for BC's Public Lands worked with local groups to organise information meetings in 11 communities affected by the settlement agreement prior to the consultations.

The Campaign to Save BC's Public Lands is a network of social justice, environmental and labour groups. These groups support a set of core principles about resisting privatisation and promoting community control of forests, in a manner that is fair to all British Columbians, and that respects the rights and title of First Nations.

According to reported statements made by Perry, about 1400 people attended the consultations and he received 1,000 written submissions, mostly opposed to forest privatisation and deregulation of TFL lands. Groups as diverse as the Forest Practices Board, IWA locals, the Council of Canadians, the Wilderness Tourism Association and Greenpeace, as well as various local governments, First Nations and government agencies, expressed deep concerns about the settlement agreement. According to Perry, close to half the people at the consultations felt that MB did not deserve anything at all. Others suggested that perhaps should compensate communities for environmental damage from logging practices.

Mr. Perry's report, the MacMillan Bloedel Parks Settlement Agreement Decision has now been made public, and is available on the Ministry of Forests webpage at www.for.gov.bc.ca. Mr. Perry recommended that none of the proposed land transfers take place.

Publication Date: 
June 1999
Year: 
1999
Pages: 
45
Date Catalogued: 
Tuesday, June 1, 1999

The MacMillan Bloedel Settlement Agreement: Submissions to Mr. David Perry

Subject(s): 
Forestry, Aboriginal Rights
Author(s): 
Clogg, Jessica
Summary: 

West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) understands that the terms of reference of the MacMillan Bloedel (MB) Settlement Agreement Consultation Program include: determining whether the proposed land transfers to MB can be done without infringing aboriginal rights and title; assessing the implications of the proposed transfers, and providing advice to government respecting which of the transfers under consideration should be implemented.

For the reasons set out below, the position of WCEL is that:

  • the Settlement Agreement is a serious and unjustifiable infringement of aboriginal rights and title;
  • the implications of the proposed transfers are overwhelmingly negative for sustainable forest jobs, biodiversity, fish and wildlife habitat, and community well-being; and
  • none of the transfers under consideration should be implemented

Furthermore, we take the position that MB’s case for compensation in the amount settled on has not been proven. We submit that British Columbia had a solid legal position to oppose the quantum of the MB claim for compensation, and strong legal arguments against paying any compensation for reduced annual allowable cut (AAC). Although a settlement has been reached in the MB case, we have made submissions on this issue because we understand that this settlement agreement may be only the first of many.

 

Publication Date: 
June 1999
Year: 
1999
Pages: 
9
Date Catalogued: 
Thursday, June 10, 1999
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