January 21, 2016
ALTON NATURAL GAS STORAGE FACILTIY PROJECT
(INDIAN BROOK FIRST NATION, NS) – This morning the Province of Nova Scotia issued the three remaining permits to operate the Alton Natural Gas Storage Facility Project. This Industrial Approval gives the authority for the proponent to begin brine operation.
On January 12, 2016 a letter was sent to the Nova Scotia Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. The letter stated that prior to any final decision being made on this project, Sipekne’katik membership is entitled to substantial, ongoing and satisfactory communication. Additionally, there must be extensive engagement by AltaGas and the appropriate regulatory bodies with Sipekne’katik membership.
The letter stated once real and meaningful process are completed, a community referendum will be held to seek membership input on this project. Once the referendum is complete, the Province of Nova Scotia will be notified of the results.
Sipekne’katik did not participate in the development of the Third Party Review Terms of Reference nor the screening and selection of a contractor. Sipekne’katik participation during the Third Party Review was as an observer. The reason we participated as an observer was due to the fact that consultation on this project began in 2006-2007 under the Made in Nova Scotia Process/Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative administered by the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office.
The Alton Natural Gas Storage Facility project received Minister Approval on December 17, 2007. The Alton Pipeline project received Minister Approval in May 31, 2013. There is a flaw within the current environmental assessment process allowing this project to be separated into two separate environmental assessments.
During the current consultation process there was and is no way to oppose a project. This process expects us to allow proponents to come to our unceded territory and propose to do what they wish in the interest of economics. This leaves us in a difficult place as it leaves no opportunity for grassroots membership to have a voice when their rights and title are at risk. Our grassroots people have no voice.
Consultation is not truly consultation after a decision has been previously made. It is information and notification only after a project is approved.
There is disappointment in the Province of Nova Scotia, KMKNO and Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
A Band Council Resolution was passed this morning to formally withdraw Sipekne’katik from the Nova Scotia Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs. Sipekne’katik represents itself in all consultation and negotiation matter that impact rights, title and the interests of Sipekne’katik and its members.
Sipekne’katik is committed to developing a Sipekne’katik Consultation Process that involves membership.
For more information, contact:
Chief Rufus Copage
Phone: 902.758.2049 ext. 222