Last Thursday marked six months since an occupation camp was set up on Lelu Island to protest the Petronas-back Pacific Northwest LNG project.
The camp has grown from meagre beginnings to now having a full-fledge two floor cabin, as well as storage and work areas.
On a typically wet north coast day, Ken Lawson was on Lelu Island along with his wife and several camp supporters.
Lelu Island is the traditional territory of Lawson’s house, which is under Sm’oogyet Yahaan Don Wesley, a Lax Kw’alaams hereditary chief.
Lawson has been active in the movement against the PNW LNG project, and is one of the central figures Premier Christy Clark has labelled “the rag tag forces of no.”
But Lawson has adapted that label to his own use, saying they’re the forces of know – with a k.
Despite the positive twist, Lawson is visibly angry when asked about Premier Clark’s comments on those who attended the Salmon Summit and signed the Lelu Declaration.
Much of the controversy over Lelu Island stems from different environmental reports concluding different impacts if the project were to go through.
Project scientists, and those from the federal government, say the impact will be minimal, while others show there wil be irreparable harm done to important Skeena salmon habitat.
Lawson says it’s clear which scientific reports have more credibility,
He calls PNW’s reports flawed, saying they’re only they don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.
But he says there’s an overwhelming body of science, including SFU’s Jonathan Moore’s peer reviewed study, that points to the dangers of having a LNG plant over an important salmon habitat.
Ultimately Lawson says despite his own personal sacrifices, he must continue to occupy Lelu Island and oppose the project.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released its draft report saying the PNW LNG project won’t have a significant impact on Skeena salmon.
The CEAA public commenting period is open until March 11th, which then goes to the federal environment minister for approval.