Lelu Island and Flora Bank are off limits to LNG permanently.
That’s the message from a coalition of First Nations Leaders, local residents, scientists, and politicians who came together Friday and Saturday in Prince Rupert.
The two-day Salmon Nation Summit culminated with the Lelu Island Declaration which states, in part, “that Lelu Island, and Flora and Agnew Banks, are hereby protected for all time, as a refuge for wild salmon and marine resources, and are to be held in trust for all future generations.”
The area near the mouth of the Skeena River, considered critical wild salmon habitat, is the site of the proposed multi-billion dollar Pacific NorthWest LNG project backed by Malaysia-owned energy giant Petronas.
Signatories to the declaration, including hereditary leaders from the Nine Allied Tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams, hereditary leaders of the Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Lake Babine, and Haisla First Nations, say the document throws up a major hurdle for the project and for the provincial government’s plans to develop the industry.
“The Lelu Declaration sends a powerful message to Premier Clark and Prime Minister Trudeau,” said Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams. “The support to stop this LNG project is overwhelming. Nations are united from the headwaters of the Skeena River to the ocean. Together, we will fight this to the end.” Yahaan and supporters have maintained a camp at Lelu Island since late August.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen and the three area NDP MLAs also reject the project, saying it poses an unacceptable risk to Flora Bank.
Pacific NorthWest LNG has said that its scientific studies indicate it can develop the project while still protecting salmon habitat.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is expected to release its decision about Pacific NorthWest LNG this spring.