The Cedar LNG project in BC, led by the Haisla Nation, says it has the strong support of neighbouring Nations.
“Years of collaboration and constructive engagement with these Nations have helped to ensure the project will be designed, constructed, and operated responsibly, while providing benefits through construction jobs and contracting, training opportunities, long-term employment, and other measures that will contribute to economic prosperity in the region.”
Initial approvals by BC and federal governments of the Haisla Nation’s Cedar LNG project came with a hefty list of binding conditions and requirements as the project moves along and eventually is launched.
And the long list of federal requirements addresses a number of Indigenous issues and potential impact on First Nations Peoples.
The BC government set 16 binding conditions, and also recommended 65 federal mitigation measures and nine follow-up programs to address the project’s impact in areas of federal jurisdiction, including marine shipping, marine emergency response and greenhouse gas emissions.
Then the federal government added “over 250 legally-binding conditions, including being net-zero no later than 2050.”
Most of the requirements seek to limit the environmental impact of the $3-billion project by the Haisla Nation and partner Pembina Pipelines Corp.
They include requirements on protecting air, waters, whales, fish, fish habitat, marine mammals, marine vegetation, birds and nests and eggs, marbled murrelet, frogs and toads, little brown myotis bats, watercourses and wetlands, land vegetation and trees, ‘things of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance”, physical and cultural heritage resources, and dealing with noise and light.
But the federal requirements also address Indigenous issues.
Ottawa sees as “low” the project’s impact on “physical and cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Indigenous peoples, and any change occurring in Canada to the health, social or economic conditions of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.”
And the feds see “positive effects by supporting self-governance and self-determination for Haisla Nation as the majority owner of Cedar LNG, advancing reconciliation with this Indigenous group.”
But Ottawa’s document on requirements did note that “adverse impacts that (the project) would have on the rights of Indigenous peoples” include harvesting, use and integrity of sacred and culturally important sites, Indigenous governance, Indigenous health and well-being, access and travel, and cultural identity.
Ottawa got input from the Kitselas Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Band, Haida Nation, Kitsumkalum First Nation, Gitxaała Nation, Gitga’at First Nation and Kitsumkalum First Nation.
And Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said: “I am satisfied that the federal duty to consult Indigenous peoples has been met and potential impacts of the Designated Project on Aboriginal or Treaty rights have been accommodated.”
The federal government went on to say: “Concerns of some of the Indigenous groups relate to broader effects outside of the Designated Project, such as from cumulative effects from marine shipping in their territories. Canada is committed to continuing the dialogue with Indigenous groups to better understand concerns and seek appropriate means for addressing them.”
Ottawa noted the potential of adverse effects of the project on “cultural and material connections to land and water for current and future generations of Indigenous peoples that could pose risks to food security, the transfer of Indigenous knowledge and the mental health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.”
“Further, there may be adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples due to the alteration or reduction of subsistence-based livelihoods and trade networks.”
And: “Adverse changes to social and family cohesion, and the health and safety of Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse peoples and subgroups may be associated with an influx of a majority male workforce and changes in social structures.”
Ottawa went on to require the Haisla and Pembina to consult other First Nations on such issues as the impact of shipping and vessel wakes, and the impact on current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Indigenous Peoples along the marine shipping route.
Ottawa also requires consultation with Indigenous groups on safety issues, communications plans, and more.
The feds also came up with binding requirements that include items on Indigenous impact, such as these:
- “The Proponent shall develop, in consultation with Indigenous groups and relevant authorities, and implement a Marine Transportation Management Plan to mitigate federal adverse effects on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Indigenous Peoples caused by construction-related marine shipping and operation-related marine shipping.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction and in consultation with Haisla Nation and relevant authorities (including Health Canada and Northern Health Authority), and implement a follow-up program with respect to adverse federal effects on the health, social and economic conditions of Indigenous peoples from changes to the acoustic environment.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to operation and in consultation with Indigenous groups, and implement, a Training Plan to increase opportunities for Indigenous peoples to obtain skills and training required to be employed by the Designated Project during operation. . . . Measures shall include the provision of on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs for Indigenous peoples.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction and in consultation with Indigenous groups, and implement, during all phases of the Designated Project, measures to increase opportunities for local businesses that are, and remain for the duration of the contract, at least 51 percent owned and controlled by Indigenous peoples.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction and in consultation with Indigenous groups, and implement, during all phases of the Designated Project, a Gender Equity and Diversity Plan to increase opportunities for Indigenous peoples, including Haisla Nation members and Indigenous women, to obtain and retain employment with the Designated Project.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction and in consultation with Indigenous groups, relevant authorities and community stakeholders, and implement, during all phases of the Designated Project, measures to promote safe, respectful and inclusive conduct in the workplace and the community. . . . As part of the measures, the Proponent shall implement a workplace anti-harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence policy that contains gender-appropriate and gender-specific policies and processes, including sexual harassment and assault counselling and confidential and culturally sensitive care.”
- “The Proponent shall demonstrate how federal adverse effects on Indigenous women and girls . . . are addressed in the development and implementation of the measures (and) develop mandatory cross-cultural awareness training in consultation with Indigenous groups, and provide the training to employees of the Designated Project and contractors associated with the Designated Project.”
- “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction and in consultation with Indigenous groups and relevant authorities (including Northern Health Authority), and implement, during construction, a Health and Medical Services Plan to mitigate the impacts of the Designated Project on local health and medical services that may be used by Indigenous peoples.”
And, to protect lands for traditional Indigenous purposes, “The Proponent shall develop, prior to construction, and implement, during construction, procedures for restricting non-local contractor personnel from engaging in recreational hunting, fishing or ATV or snowmobile use during off-work hours.”
- See the full list of federal requirements at http://ow.ly/stQW50Njzkx
(Posted here 24 March 2023)