Tensions rise over pipeline project following truce between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and RCMP

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      Over the past few days, some Indigenous people have been raising concerns over the impact of preparatory work being done for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project.

      The Unist'ot'en Camp Twitter feed has alleged that Wet'suwet'en people have been denied access to their traplines by Coastal Gaslink contractors.

      The company, on the other hand, has insisted that worker safety has been jeopardized by these "newly erected animal traps".

      This comes less than three weeks after the RCMP and hereditary chiefs reached an agreement to allow the company access to their traditional territory.

      The agreement came after Coastal Gaslink obtained an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court and the Mounties arrested 14 people at the Gidumt'en checkpoint.

      The truce resulted in the peaceful dismantling of a blockade on the Morice River Bridge.

      According to the Unist'ot'en, the company's recent actions have violated the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

      Coastal Gaslink claimed on January 23 that its crews encountered the traps in trees, along with "newly erected signage" on its work site about 17 kilometres from the Morice River Bridge.

      "The work occurring on the access roads, ancillary sites and the right-of-way is an active construction site accessible to authorized personnel only," the company said. "It is important to us that all of our worksites are safe and our workers go home safe each and every day."

      The following day, Coastal Gaslink said it was shutting down "approved and permitted work" because of safety concerns.

      The Unist'ot'en Camp Twitter feed stated that Wet'suwet'en people are worried that their sweat lodge could be destroyed.

      The Indigenous people also said that damaging the trapline "is a direct attack on our healing center and the wellness of our Wet'suwet'en people".

      If the pipeline is built, it would transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada plant that is being built near Kitimat.

      The federal and provincial governments have approved the project, which the company says is part of a $40-billion capital-investment plant.

      Coastal Gaslink has obtained the approval of elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the route.

      Pipeline opponents, however, insist that these elected chiefs and councils only have authority on reserves created under the Indian Act and not over the unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en people.

      Meanwhile, the LNG Canada plant has come under criticism from the environmental movement and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for being "incompatible" with the province's legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      "The problem for BC is that the province needs to be on a pathway of reducing its emissions," wrote CCPA senior economist Marc Lee last year. "The new BC government has recognized this with new legislated GHG targets. They would permit BC economy-wide emissions of 39 Mt in 2030, falling to 26 Mt in 2040 and 13 Mt in 2050.

      "This means the LNG Canada supply chain from wellhead to loaded ship would consume 23–31% of BC’s allowable emissions in 2030, 35–46% of 2040 emissions, and 69–92% of 2050 emissions. And don’t forget that this is intended to be new production above that of the existing natural gas industry, which was responsible for 12 Mt of emissions in 2015."

      LNG Canada, on the other hand, has claimed that its plant in Kitimat will emit less than four million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year and that its product will displace the burning of coal in Asia.