Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers investigating CGL worksite at Lho Kwa (Clore River) on Wet’suwet’en territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by David Suzuki Foundation.

On January 12, the David Suzuki Foundation posted: “Wet’suwet’en officials have confirmed pipeline contractors dug up gravel beds and drove heavy equipment back and forth across spawning habitat as they installed huge pumps to divert Lho Kwa, the Clore River, a large tributary of the Skeena. Coastal GasLink failed to control silt or erosion in the river, putting countless salmon eggs in jeopardy.”

Tsebesa, a chief in the Likhts’amisyu clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation, says: “For months, Coastal GasLink has stopped us from accessing our own land to monitor pipeline work. Now we know what they were hiding.”

Na’moks, chief of the Tsayu clan, adds: “B.C. has spent tens of millions on RCMP raids to remove Wet’suwet’en people from our territory. If B.C. spent that money enforcing their own environmental laws, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

He adds: “The thing to remember here is that the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs said that this was not a good project, and they said no to the project. What we’re seeing now is exactly what we were expecting.”

The National Observer has also reported: “The Clore crossing area, where the construction is taking place, was considered “highly sacred” to the Likhts’amisyu clan because until recently, it has been untouched by industry, said Tsebesa.”

Now, The Globe and Mail reports: “Work on the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline is under investigation by federal fisheries officers, as construction pushes through sensitive salmon-bearing rivers.”

The Globe and Mail article continues: “Dan Bate, spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said officers from the conservation and protection branch are looking into the complaint of sedimentation in the Clore River as a result of the work being performed on the CGL pipeline project.”

“The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office also received a complaint on Jan. 8 that CGL was crossing the Clore River without sediment control.”

The article also highlights: “In the past two years, the EAO has issued 37 warnings, 17 orders, and a little less than $250,000 in fines, primarily related to sediment and erosion control concerns. A single order, from April 2022, covered 33 waterways and wetlands after inspections found the company was not in compliance with the terms of its environmental assessment certificate.”

But The Tyee notes: “B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office says it hasn’t investigated the most recent complaint about erosion and sediment control issues along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route, instead referring the concerns to B.C.’s oil and gas regulator.”

That report highlights: “In a statement, the Oil and Gas Commission said it was ‘notified of the matter, followed up and did not find any non-compliances.’”

On the importance of salmon, Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ has commented: “Our identity as Indigenous peoples is tied to the land, to our water, to the fact that we harvest salmon every year. We know that the people who are killing themselves are the people who don’t have that connection to who they are as an Indigenous person. And if we don’t have that our people will die. And that’s the genocide.”

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Canada to stop construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline until it secures the free, prior and informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en peoples. It has also called on Canada to remove the RCMP and private security from Wet’suwet’en territory.

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