Legal action started vs Mackenzie Valley line
THE Deh Cho First Nations in Canada’s Northwest Territories has filed a legal action in the province’s supreme court aimed at stopping the regulatory review of the $5-billion Mackenzie Valley pipeline project.
The 4,500-member Deh Cho say Ottawa has violated its aboriginal rights by refusing its request to allow two of its representatives to join a seven-member joint federal-territories review panel that will decide on the project application, expected to be filed by the end of the year.
The statement of claim asks the court to consider granting an injunction to stop the regulatory review process for the Mackenzie Valley project until the Deh Cho is included or, alternatively, to order that any decision by the panel be deemed invalid.
Roland Sernjanovs, a spokesman for the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said the Deh Cho was twice invited in writing last spring to name a representative that the Board could appoint on its behalf to the environmental review panel for the project. No names were submitted, he said.
40% of the route for the 1,400-km pipeline would cross Deh Cho lands in the southern part of the NWT, and the court action could delay the Arctic gas pipeline project from its planned completion around 2009. Grand Chief Herb Norwegian said that if the federal government is willing to start sitting down and resolving the dispute on land and governance rights that has dragged on since the 1970s, the Deh Cho would withdraw the legal action. .
This story courtesy of EnviroLine, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org.