Co-op backs Canadian oil fight
February 26, 2009
MANCHESTER-based Co-operative Financial Services said today it was backing legal action by Canada's Beaver Lake Cree Nation in its fight to stop tar sand developments by oil giants including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil.
CFS said it would fund the Alberta community's efforts to demonstrate the impact of tar sand developments on their traditional way of life and seek injunctions to prevent them.
The Beaver Lake Cree say the schemes will be ecologically damaging and will affect their traditional way of life. They argue that their rights to hunt, fish and gather plants in the area, granted by a treaty with Canada signed in 1876, are threatened by the pollution, disturbance of wildlife and deforestation resulting from tar sand developments.
Paul Monaghan, head of social goals and sustainability at CFS, said: "We already know that commercialisation of tar sands risks massive environmental damage.
"If the Beaver Lake Cree Nation are successful in their ground-breaking legal challenge and other indigenous groups follow, oil companies could be looking at massive investment damages."
Beaver Lake Cree chief Al Lameman and other senior members of the community are in the UK to enlist support for their battle.