Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

"Chiefs want pipeline royalties"-- Keystone

Chiefs want pipeline royalties
By Paul Turenne

A group of southern Manitoba chiefs is asking the federal court to overturn Ottawa’s decision to allow a massive pipeline project to be built in the province because the chiefs say the government did not fulfill its duty to consult them about it.

TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline project, approved by the National Energy Board and the federal cabinet last fall, would pump more than half a million barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Illinois and Oklahoma.

It runs through Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and will require converting an existing natural gas line that runs from roughly Russell to Portage la Prairie for oil use, as well as building a brand new line from Portage south to the U.S. border.

Much of the pipeline runs right through the territory affected by Treaty 1, an agreement signed between seven Manitoba first nations and the federal government in 1871.

The modern-day chiefs of those seven nations filed an application Friday for a judicial review of cabinet’s decision to accept the National Energy Board’s approval of the project.

Roseau River Chief Terry Nelson, one of the seven chiefs, said the first nations are upset the government did not respond to the chiefs’ requests to be consulted.

Nelson added that besides potential treaty impacts, the consultations would have also included a request for royalties on the oil flowing through the pipeline. Rural municipalities and landowners are already given such payments, and the other levels of government can make tax money off the oil industry, Nelson said.


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