I think that this a good moment in the flow of ideas (‘Bumiputera status’, ‘innovation levels’, ‘lock-in ‘, ‘post-law’), in which to return to the problems of the Lelu Island LNG project. Below is an extract, from Sm’ooyget Yahaan’s letter to Premier Justin Trudeau, summarizing the flow of events that have led to the present impasse.
“In early May (2015), following presentations by Petronas and independent science teams in three different locations, our community unanimously rejected an unprecedented offer of $1.15 billion (CAD) from Petronas to buy our support for their project. This is the measure of our commitment to defending the wild salmon of the Skeena. If you lose the fish, you lose the people.
Our voices are now being ignored. Soon after our vote, Petronas announced a conditional Final Investment Decision in the project. Failing to buy our consent, they began to act as if our consent was irrelevant. On July 14, the BC Government followed suit and approved the project in the Legislature.
When we heard in late August that the Prince Rupert Port Authority gave permission to PNW LNG to begin test drilling on and around Flora Bank, our people decided to take a stand on the ground. On August 26, myself and a group of our people and supporters moved onto Lelu Island, and have been living there since, turning away surveyors and drillers who have already damaged eelgrass on Flora Bank and removed culturally modified trees from the island. Chiefs from the nine allied tribes, as well as the elected Lax Kw’alaams Band Council, stand together in continuing to assert that Flora Bank is off-limits to development. The actions of the contractors working for PNW LNG have not received community consent. Tensions are escalating.”