First Nations town plans road blockade
Florence Loyie, The Edmonton Journal
June 13, 2008
EDMONTON - A First Nations community straddling a section of the border between northern Alberta and British Columbia is planning a blockade later this month to draw attention to health and safety concerns caused by oil and gas exploration on its traditional lands.
Clayton Anderson, a consultant working for Kelly Lake Cree Nation, said the blockade will be held in conjunction with an emergency disaster preparedness drill the community plans for next week.
The band has been involved in land claim negotiations with the federal government since 1994. Community members have told the federal and two provincial governments about their concerns.
Band members are worried about the effect drilling is having on water quality in the area, as well as the heavy volume of industrial traffic roaring through the community every day, he said Thursday.
Vehicles are transporting dangerous and toxic materials used in oil and gas exploration, but no one seems to have an evacuation or disaster preparedness plan in place for the community in the event of an explosion or toxic leak, Anderson said.
The community plans to conduct its own disaster drill for three days beginning June 20. The drill will include a road blockade on Highway 2 allowing local traffic through but making oil and gas industry vehicles, contractors and employees find alternate routes.
Kelly Lake is located about two kilometres west of the British Columbia border, 56 kilometres south of Dawson Creek.
© The Edmonton Journal 2008