Smithers JRP Hearings Update
The joint review panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline had hearings in Smithers just for today. The hearings were originally scheduled to be in Hazelton for two days, but there was a last minute change due to safety and security reasons, and moved the hearings to Smithers. Residents from the Hazelton’s showed up with the signs they made last week to protest the decision made by the JRP. Peggy Muir says “They changed it because they had security concerns which we think are ridiculous to have those concerns Hazelton is a safe community and we respect people, and to move it out of Hazelton is really ridiculous." Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Earl Muldoe says, “We have internal problems like any other nation, but that's none of their business it's ours, we solve it ourselves we've been doing it for centuries, so why did they past that judgment on us? And say well we don't trust those people. That's awful!”
Due to people not registering, the Joint Review Panel had less people than first anticipated come to voice their opinion about the Northern Gateway Project, making the hearings in Smithers last only one day instead of two. JRP Hearing Manager Ruth Mills explains, “There were a large number of people who had registered who chose not to speak to the panel cut it back to one day."
Locals were not shy in voicing their opinion. Christoph Dietzfelbinger, a Qualified Avalanche Planner was hired with the Enbridge to help but later turned it down. “Enbridge is a corporate entity and their ability to have share holders is not impacted when a spill occurs, it will be perfectly viable if there were no more salmon in the Skeena system, or if the Douglas channel was covered in bitumen or however they put it, so what they introduce and pleasure to work with, they are diligent and consciences people they are under the dictate of making sure they will be a large enough return to share holders, everything else is secondary.”
Enbrdige officials do say that they are working hard to make sure that spills will not occur. Enbridge Corporate Communications says, “No spill is ever acceptable to us, we are doing everything we can to drive the incidents of our spills to zero, we are not there yet we continue to work very hard and devote considerable amounts of resources to make sure the incidents is going down and continue to strive for zero incidents”
Next hearings are scheduled in Port Hardy for August 7th.