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Alberta, Sep 21 (Canadian-Media): First Nations-led proposed Eagle Spirit pipeline stretching through northern Alberta and British Columbia (B.C.) would protect Indigenous rights and be a world environmental leader by unlocking Canada’s vast oil and gas reserves, media reports said.
Eagle Spirit Pipeline/Facebook
First Nations people who had earlier been protesting against proposed pipelines and accusing Ottawa's failure to properly consult with First Nations, were suddenly supportive.
All 35 First Nations were supportive of the pipeline along the proposed route for the 1,500-km Eagle Spirit pipeline, said Calvin Helin, a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation and CEO and president of Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings.
Eagle Spirit pipeline first emerged about five years ago as an alternative to Northern Gateway, which was then opposed by First Nations on the grounds that environmental protection and benefits were insufficient.
Under the new proposal, First Nations would become the major equity holders, share in the profits and control the environmental model.
“They have a model that will bring a standard that is higher than the current proposed ocean protection plan by the federal government.”
Eagle Spirit is raising capital and plans to apply for federal regulatory approval next year.
The projected cost is about $12 billion, compared to about $6.5 billion for the Northern Gateway and $9.3 billion for Trans Mountain.
The pipeline would cut more than 100 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the “current practice of extracting oil,” said Helin on the north coast near Prince Rupert where the proposed pipeline would terminate.
But a federal legislation passed by the House of Commons earlier this year to ban tankers carrying crude oil from loading or unloading at ports along the ecologically sensitive northern coast of British Columbia was a big hurdle for Eagle Spirit.
The bill is now being considered by the Senate.
“This is something that has been done without consultation and is being challenged by the First Nations and they will quash it,” said Helin.
Helin says the proposed port for Eagle Spirit is much safer than the one that was part of the Northern Gateway plan.
The pipeline route also runs much further north through Alberta and B.C.
In 2016 Northern Gateway was cancelled by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
And last month federal appeal court overturned approval of the Trans Mountain project as it properly consult First Nations.
The Trudeau government is pressing forward with plans to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion after Kinder Morgan Canada decided not to move forward with the expansion.
The government announced Friday to review the marine impact of oil tanker traffic related to that development , which has yet to be decided by the court.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)