Unist’ot’en demand Coastal GasLink stop work at northern B.C. pipeline

Wet’suwet’en house claims company is violating the law and injunction agreement

  • Jan. 28, 2019 9:30 a.m.

A Unist’ot’en camp supporter walks over ground where Coastal GasLink allegedly destroyed a trapline. (Michael Toledano photo)

The Unist’ot’en (Dark house) of the Wet’suwet’en are demanding a complete work stoppage of Coastal GasLink’s pipeline project south of Houston.

The Unist’ot’en encampment issued a press release early Monday morning, claiming the company is not living up to the conditions of its permit or an interim injunction enforcement agreement reached with RCMP earlier this month.

“Under the conditions of Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) permits, Coastal Gaslink (CGL) is required to have completed a site-specific archaeological survey before undertaking any clearing work on the proposed man-camp site in Unist’ot’en Territory known as Camp 9A,” the release stated.

“CGL acknowledged in their injunction application that these archaeological surveys have not been completed.”

The Unist’ot’en had been blocking the company’s access to the site until hereditary chiefs agreed on Jan. 10 to abide by a B.C. Supreme Court interim injunction issued in December. The temporary injunction is scheduled to last until May 1.

Read more: Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Late last week, The Interior News reported that Coastal GasLink had temporarily ceased operations because of a dispute over a trapline the Unist’oten said was bulldozed in violation of Section 46 of the Wildlife Act and the injunction agreement.

The company claimed in a release Jan. 24 that the Unist’ot’en were violating the agreement by continuing to set traplines.

Freda Huson, Unis’tot’en camp founder and spokesperson, insisted it was Coastal GasLink that was at fault.

“They were supposed to not interfere with our trapping and our cultural practices on our land,” she said. “That was the second agreement that was made and was broken.”

Read more: Coastal GasLink stops work over pipeline dispute in northern B.C.

Monday’s release claimed the RCMP is refusing to enforce the law and agreement.

“In violation of this agreement, RCMP have threatened Wet’suwet’en trappers with arrest for attempting to access their traplines, and warned healing centre patients that they could be arrested for participating in ceremony,” the Unist’ot’en said.

Requests for comment from Coastal GasLink and the RCMP have not yet been returned.

Furthermore, the Unist’ot’en said they were told by the Conservation Officer Service that “investigating this ongoing crime is not a priority for their office.”

Requests for comment have also been made to the conservation officer service and the oil and gas commission.

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