The ink on the Lheidli T’enneh’s lawsuit against Enbridge is barely dry and the MLA for Nechako Lakes has responded to the matter.
The host first nation cites a lack of communication on the cause of the October 9th natural gas explosion, north of Prince George as well as the lack of emergency response shown by Enbridge.
John Rustad spoke with MY PG Now who understands both sides of the argument and believes it’s now up to the province to mend fences.
“The issue, of course, that happened last fall was very concerning and I can understand where the Lheidli T’enneh is in regards to this but I can also understand the need of the province and I think this is a great opportunity now for the province to step in and to work with both the Lheidli T’enneh and Enbridge to try and find a way to bridge this difference.”
Rustad attended the natural resources forum earlier this year in Prince George where he saw Chief Dominic Frederick show his support for natural resources.
“The chief of the Lheudli T’enneh stood up and was very proud to say that he supports Coastal Gas Links, he’s part of that project and he even had an agreement with Enbridge in regards to some potential of the Gateway oil project, I think the Lheidli T’enneh is certainly interested in doing business.”
“I think that it is imperative that companies that operate on the land base respect traditional territory and respect first nations, that they should have protocols for engaging and communicating effectively and to be able to find ways to address those issues.”
The lawsuit was filed five months after a natural gas explosion from an Enbridge line burst, putting area residents into a state of panic.
The host first nation also cites a lack of communication and cause of the explosion several months after the incident.
Enbridge has provided My PG Now with the following statement.
• Enbridge is committed to fostering a strengthened relationship with Indigenous communities, including the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, built upon openness, respect and mutual trust.
• The next day, Enbridge representatives participated at a community meeting to provide additional information. We have included members of the First Nation on a flyover of the incident site, participated in two council meetings, and provided numerous updates to the community.
• The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation has been involved in the post-incident review process. A post-incident debriefing session on the emergency response on Nov. 21 involved multiple agencies, including the National Energy Board, emergency response services, Enbridge and leadership of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
• Our CEO Al Monaco has been in personal contact with Chief Dominic Frederick for a one-on-one meeting to strengthen and improve our relationship and committed a team involving senior executives to negotiate a settlement and an agreement to frame our relationship going forward.