Fort Nelson First Nation puts Government on Notice for Upstream
On April 14, 2014, the BC Government issued Order in Council
(No. 185) amending the Reviewable Projects Regulation (B.C. Reg
370/200) to remove the need for a provincial environmental
assessment for sweet natural gas processing plants (the Proposed
Amendment). The Proposed Amendment, which was to come into
effect on April 28, 2014, would have had significant implications
for upstream activities, especially in northeast BC where shale gas
development is rapidly underway.
Following a public outcry in response to the Proposed Amendment
by the Chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN), Environment
Minister Mary Polak publicly apologized for failing to adequately
consult with First Nations prior to approving the Proposed
Amendment and announced that the BC Government would rescind the
Proposed Amendment any proceed to undertake discussions with First
Nations before proceeding with the regulatory change.
Minister Polak's announcement comes in the wake of the
expulsion of BC Government officials from an LNG conference hosted
by the FNFN in mid-April, where the FNFN put the BC Government and
oil and gas industry on notice with a declaration that
"BC's LNG Strategy is on hold. No shale gas development
will proceed in FNFN territory until our nation and our treaty is
respected and our concerns about our land and our waters are
addressed." The FNFN's declaration went on further to say that:
"All agreements with the Province are now under review."
The Chief of the FNFN, Sharleen Gale, also noted that the
FNFN has "a lot of pre-work to do with government and industry
before any projects can move ahead." The FNFN, a member
of Treaty 8, is a community of approximately 810 Dené and
Cree members and their traditional territory encompasses the
northeast corner of BC. Of the four major active gas plays in BC,
three are in the traditional territory of the FNFN: Horn River,
Cordova and Liard Basins.
In her statement rescinding the amendment, Minister
Polak said that the Province will continue to engage with First
Nations in northeastern BC, "including shared decision making
that respects the environment, First Nation values, and Treaty 8
and its associated rights". She also noted that the
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) had been made
aware of the decision to rescind the Proposed Amendment until
further discussions with First Nations have taken place and that
CAPP respects the need for the BC Government to engage in such
Now that the ball is firmly in the court of the BC Government
and industry, stakeholders will be watching with interest as to how
the Province will re-set its relationship with First Nations on
this issue in order to move forward with the development of shale
gas resources in northeastern BC.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
In Bank of Montreal v Bumper Development Corporation Ltd, 2016 ABQB 363, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench enforced the "immediate replacement" provision in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen 2007 Operating Procedure...
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).