Canadian indigenous group says it has ordered workers off site of disputed gas pipeline

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OTTAWA, Nov 15 (Businesshala) – An indigenous group in the Canadian Pacific province of British Columbia says it has ordered workers to leave the site of TC Energy Corp’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, the latest step in a long dispute.

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The hereditary chiefs of the five clans of the Wetsuwetan people, who opposed the project, have been trying for more than a year to force them to work in the north of the province.

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The C$6.6 billion pipeline will carry natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to the Pacific Coast to feed the LNG Canada Export Terminal, which is under construction by Royal Dutch Shell and its partners. About 28% of the 670-km (420-mile) route passes through Wet’suwetan land.

In a statement on Sunday, one of the clans, Gidimten, said it had demanded Coastal GasLink employees leave the area. The company, however, said on its website that it is seeking talks but has not received any response.

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Coastal, which is owned by private equity firms KKR & Company Inc., Alberta Investment Management Corp. and TC, says it is allowed to work on the pipeline, after the British Columbia Supreme Court in 2019 ruled out barriers preventing access for workers. Referring to the injunction granted against. It said the protests are illegal.

No one in the company, Giedimtain or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was immediately available for comment on Monday.

The dispute poses a potential challenge to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has prioritized reconciliation with Canada’s marginalized Aboriginal population. He also says that Canada will depend on fossil fuels for decades to come.

All elected indigenous band councils along the route of the Coastal GasLink support the project. But the Wet Suwetan hereditary chiefs oppose this and say that they, not the elected officials of the community, have rights over traditional lands.

“The Wet’suwetan hereditary chiefs have never surrendered or lost in battle for the region. That means they go by what they say,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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