Coastal GasLink receives warning from B.C. Oil and Gas Commission over pipeline construction

WATCH ABOVE: (From Jan. 9, 2019) During a town hall in B.C., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a fiery exchange with a First Nations woman frustrated with the federal government's handling of a protest in northern B.C. in response to a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink.

Coastal GasLink must submit a notice of construction at least 48 hours before it starts work under its permit to build a pipeline that is opposed by some members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission said.

The commission has warned the Calgary-based company after it received complaints from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en that alleged that Coastal GasLink engaged in construction without an archaeological impact assessment and also destroyed traplines and tents.

A letter from the commission dated Thursday says Coastal GasLink didn’t submit the required notification on Jan. 22.

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks said the 48-hour notice won’t help because the process isn’t being followed.

“There is no consultation with us,” he said.

The ideal step would be to go back to the drawing board and talk to the proper rights and titles holders, he said, adding that it should be the province and federal governments consulting with the Indigenous people, not industry.

In another statement the commission said the archaeological assessment report was reviewed and accepted by the province’s archaeology branch in September 2016, and that Coastal GasLink has met the requirements of its permit.

READ MORE: TransCanada hires RBC to help sell up to 75% stake in Coastal GasLink pipeline

Coastal GasLink is building a natural gas pipeline from northeastern British Columbia to a liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat, a $40-billion project.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline, setting the stage for the arrests of 14 people at a blockade last month as RCMP enforced a court injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink.

READ MORE: RCMP lift northern B.C. pipeline blockade, allowing construction to begin again

On Thursday, the provincial government said it is undertaking a process with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en focused on First Nation’s title, rights, laws and traditional governance throughout their territory.

Na’Moks said reconciliation should be led by the Indigenous people and not by industry or an elected official.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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