Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Treaty chiefs want tar sands moratorium

Aboriginal chiefs want oilsands moratorium
Renata D'Aliesio, Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

EDMONTON - Alberta's aboriginal chiefs are calling for a moratorium on new oilsands development until they've completed plans to manage water and resource development in the region.

The plea from the First Nation chiefs was passed unanimously at an Assembly of Treaty Chiefs meeting in Calgary on Friday and comes to light as a media report reveals several of Canada's largest energy companies are asking the Alberta government to suspend land lease sales until at least 2011 in three areas around Fort McMurray that may later be designated for conservation.

The request, reportedly presented on behalf of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association, a group of 46 industry, government and aboriginal members, has also been signed by Environment Canada and the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environment think-tank.

"It is time for the Alberta government to feel the pressure that our communities have been feeling for so long, the tide has turned in our favour," Fort Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam said in a statement Monday outlining the oilsands position adopted by the chiefs.

"Thresholds have to be put in place that will protect ecosystem and human health along with the well being of our land."

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan Dene First Nation and member of the Keepers of the Athabasca organization brought forward the resolution calling for an oilsands moratorium.

He believes the province has not properly consulted aboriginals before opening the door to the oilsands boom.
"The cumulative impacts of oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in northern Athabasca watershed," Adam contended in a statement, adding that aboriginal rights have been threatened and ignored.

At a campaign stop at his old Edmonton elementary school on Monday, Liberal Leader Kevin Taft said the calls for a slowdown from some energy companies and Alberta's aboriginal chiefs underscores that the province needs to rethink how it's developing the oilsands.

Taft said if the Liberals formed the government, the party wouldn't approve additional oilsands projects until a detailed plan is drafted for managing impacts on the environment, infrastructure and labour.

"Clearly there is a consensus building here and it's been building for a long time and Ed Stelmach is out of sink with it," Taft said.

"The consensus is we need to manage oilsands development better. The Tories have allowed a free-for-all.
"This is the biggest industrial development on the planet. We need a plan."



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