(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George BC – October 11, 2018) – The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Is calling for a thorough review of all aging pipeline infrastructure in BC. On Tuesday, October 9 an Enbridge natural gas pipeline located north of Prince George, ruptured and exploded approximately two kilometres from Lheidli T’enneh community also known as Indian Reserve #2 (North). Over 70 people from the Lheidli T’enneh community were evacuated, including Regional Chief Terry Teegee and his family.
Regional Chief Teegee stated, “We are grateful to the first responders, RCMP and emergency officials for their quick response in evacuating our people during this unprecedented time. I have never seen anything like it, and was horrified to watch a massive fire burning near the community.” He added, “This event causes us great concern about the infrastructure of pipelines throughout BC. While the National Energy Board and other Crown agencies will be investigating this particular incident, we must see a complete overhaul on how pipelines are monitored and regulated in BC. There has been a major investment decision on a 48” Liquefied natural gas project from Northeast BC to Kitimaat; First Nations have a role in monitoring, compliance and enforcement of new and existing projects throughout BC.”
First Nations in BC have been seeking to become more involved in the economy and governance in their territories. This includes the increased need to build capacities for emergency management, including preparedness, response and recovery. This recent incident also highlights a major question about security of critical infrastructure. Regional Chief Teegee said, “700,000 citizens of BC are now affected as a direct result of this gas pipeline explosion. All levels of the economy are now affected, including the shutdown of mills and other industries relying on natural gas; this includes First Nations communities and their infrastructure and businesses.” He concluded, “Prior to any new pipelines being developed, there needs to be a review of regulatory processes, compliance and enforcement in regards to management of existing pipelines and also new pipelines that are being considered. Furthermore, governments and the gas and oil industry need to concede that there is an inherent risk to pipelines and it’s not a matter of ‘if’ it’s a matter of ‘when’.”
For further information, contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151
BC Assembly of First Nations