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1 Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation in a Multi Project Setting: The Horn River Basin Case Study Myron N. Barr* Peter Grant & Associates Barristers.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation in a Multi Project Setting: The Horn River Basin Case Study Myron N. Barr* Peter Grant & Associates Barristers."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation in a Multi Project Setting: The Horn River Basin Case Study Myron N. Barr* Peter Grant & Associates Barristers & Solicitors 900 – 777 Hornby Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 1S4 Tel: *(Statements/Opinions are those of author and not necessarily Fort Nelson First Nation)

2 2 Fort Nelson First Nation Reserve located approximately six kilometers south of the Town of Fort Nelson in northeastern BC Signatory to Treaty 8 Governed by Chief Councilor Kathi Dickie and five Councilors Bernadette Makowski, Sharleen Wildeman, Richard Resner, Harvey Behn and Samantha Kotchea

3 3 Geographical Environment of Fort Nelson First Nation Traditional Territory In northern boreal region – many small lakes, rivers, and waterways Rocky Mountain Chain in western part of traditional territory Some territory is marshland and low lying bog areas

4 4 Trees are predominately coniferous: spruce, birch, balsam, popular, and willow Many types of berries: saskatoons, blackberries, raspberries, and choke cherries

5 5 Many fur bearing animals: beaver, wolverine, fox, mink, and marten Also many moose, wolf, lynx, cougar, caribou, wood buffalo, black bear, grizzly bear and brown bears Birds include the loon, owl, ptarmigan, spruce hen, mallard, duck, goose, and crane

6 6 Traditional activities include hunting, trapping, food gathering, and fishing Traditional activities still an important part of daily life of First Nation

7 7 Horn River Basin (Not to Scale)

8 8 Largest shale gas field in Canada New drilling technologies: horizontal drilling/hydraulic fracturing After well drilled vertically, then drilled horizontally New hydraulic fracturing techniques Water and sand injected at high pressure to fracture the shale which then releases gas

9 9 Gas pumped out and run through gas pipelines Companies operating in the Horn River Basin include EnCana, Imperial Oil/Exxon, Apache, Nexen, Devon, and EOG (Horn River Producers Group)

10 10 Province received $2.4 billion in oil and gas land rights sales in 2008/2009 The Horn River Basin and Montney shale formation (nearer to Fort St. John) accounted for 80% of those sales Province providing $187 million dollars to upgrade the Sierra Yoyo Desan (SYD) Road to improve access to Horn River Basin

11 11 EnCana estimates up to 500 trillion cubic feet of reserves in Horn River Basin of which 110 trillion cubic feet is recoverable Throne Speech 2009 –Horn River and Montney Basins referenced –“Could yield 37 billion dollars in Provincial royalty revenue, enough to fund Ministry of Environment for over 130 years”

12 12 –“That is only two basins and one type of revenue” –“Dollars go to support priorities like health care and education” –“Open up a new Northern Energy Corridor”

13 13 Major projects in or near to Horn River Basin: –Cabin Gas Plant (HRPG – EnCana major operator) –Trans Canada “Mainline” Pipeline Project –Spectra Gas Plant upgrade –Sierra Yoyo Desan Road upgrade

14 14 Potential Projects in next few years? –BCTC/BC Hydro Northeast transmission line –Alaska Highway pipeline –Site C Dam All these developments suggest Crown should consult with Fort Nelson First Nation on a regional wide basis including regional planning

15 15 First Nation Consultation and Accommodation Issues What is the Project Description? Where is Project located in Territory? Overlaps with other First Nations? Determine if Federal/Provincial/NEB Environmental Assessments apply Region wide cumulative effects issues are important

16 16 Site specific/regional wide cumulative assessment (issue in OGC/ILMB referrals) Recent announcement by BC to include cumulative effects issues in Provincial EA assessments Participation in economic benefits (revenue sharing/business/employment opportunities)

17 17 Keeping community informed Preservation of aboriginal and treaty rights Key points for Nation involvement in EA –At “Project planning stage” – Definition of Project description –Involvement in preparing Terms of Reference

18 18 –Ensuring TUS/AIS Studies are completed before application is submitted to EAO/CEAA/NEB –Capacity Funding to Participate (Government and Industry) –Independent Scientific/Technical Review of Project Application –Environmental impacts

19 19 –Timelines to complete studies/provide input –What are the impacts on aboriginal/treaty rights –Crown/proponent discussions regarding impacts/infringement –Accommodation discussions –Input on terms/conditions of permit Regional TUS would greatly assist and improve efficiency of consultation process


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