Submitted by Greg Plain
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is appealing the National Energy Board’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 9B pipeline which runs through southern Ontario and is set to carry tar sands diluted bitumen east for export.
The Chippewas court case is centring on the lack of consultation with the community on the reversal project which crosses through the First Nation’s traditional territory and would massively impact its land and water in the case of a spill.
The Canadian Constitution, under Section 35, states that First Nations have a right to be consulted on projects that could negatively impact their land.
Neither Enbridge nor the Government consulted with Chippewas of the Thames on the project and now the dangerous pipeline is planned to go online this June, possibly before the case is even heard in court.
A pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector, Richard Kuprewicz, has stated that the probability of Line 9 rupturing is over 90% in the first five years of operation. This is due to the large number of fractures in the aging pipeline and the new, much heavier substance which has to be transported at a higher temperature and pressure.
With such a high probability of a spill, it is absolutely crucial that all 18 First Nations along the line be consulted, including Chippewas of the Thames.
Myeengun Henry, a Band Councillor with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation said, “Line 9 has been flowing light crude oil through Chippewas of the Thames traditional territory for 40 years without our consent. It is time for industry and governments to honour the treaties and wampum belt agreements. Indigenous nations and all residents of Canada are responsible for the safety of our Mother Earth!”
The Chippewas of the Thames in its appeal will fight the opening of this line and bringing great danger to the lands of the Ojibwe people across Southwestern Ontario.
While waiting for the appeal to get to its court date the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation sat with Enbridge to talk about minimizing potential hazards and environmental impacts.
“They seemed more focused on doing more business in our territory above anything else. We also gave Enbridge a two-row wampum belt and reminded them of the responsibility of it and they accepted the meaning and responsibility of it. Canada needs to be responsible of the treaties and honour their promises,” said Henry.
The Court will see the appeal on June 16th in Toronto Ontario at the court house on 180 Queen Street West on the 7th floor.
The Chippewas of the Thames are asking Anishinabe and other Nations to attend and support the Nation in its fight to keep Mother Earth intact and safe from the potential environmental disaster that could follow any breach of the pipeline starting in Aamjiwnaang First Nation through Chippewas Territory and finally ending up in Montreal, Quebec.
While proceedings are happening inside, there will be a speakers rally outside the court at 11:00 am where concerned members of Chippewa and other Nations will have the opportunity to speak out on the proposed reversal of Enbridge’s Line 9B.
More information on the speakers and events that day can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1443472499306330/