The news release says:
The Wet’suwet’en First Nation will receive approximately $2.8 million from the Province at three different stages in the CGL project: $464,000 upon signing the agreement, $1.16 million when pipeline construction begins, and $1.16 million when the pipeline is in service.
The Wet’suwet’en First Nation will also receive a yet-to-be-determined share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits per pipeline. The ongoing benefits will be available to First Nations along the natural gas pipeline routes. The B.C. government anticipates signing similar agreements with other First Nations in the near future.
Provincial benefit-sharing offers First Nations resources to partner in economic development, complements industry impact benefit agreements that provide jobs and business opportunities, and is a way for government and First Nations to work together to help grow the LNG industry.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation says in the release, “Too many First Nation communities have been left out of economic growth in B.C. for far too long. It’s exciting to be able to partner with First Nations like the Wet’suwet’en so they can share in the benefits of a new LNG export industry – stronger economies, good-paying jobs and collectively working to establish environmental legacies made possible by LNG development.”
The release quotes Chief Karen Ogen, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, as saying, “Pipeline benefits agreements are just one vehicle driving our participation in LNG development. While these agreements ensure First Nation communities share in the economic benefits of LNG, we are working collaboratively with the Province and other First Nations to ensure environmental priorities are addressed as well.”
The release also quotes Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development as saying, “Our government continues to build strong partnerships with First Nations as LNG development gains momentum. Pipeline benefits agreements like this one pave the way for job creation and economic growth as we work together to further the potential of our natural gas sector.”
The news release says the Wet’suwet’en First Nation is among the 15 First Nations located along the Chevron/Apache Pacific Trail Pipeline route that have already signed agreements that will provide $32 million in benefits to First Nations once construction has started.
British Columbia issued an environmental assessment certificate for the proposed CGL project this fall. In addition to meeting conditions set out in the environmental assessment certificate, the project will now require various federal, provincial and local government permits to proceed.
When the certificate was approved in October, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, which represents hereditary leadership issued a release saying:
B.C. ‘s approval of Coastal GasLink Pipeline project does not mean the project is a go. The Wet’suwet’en still have the right to determine the use of the land and our future.
Not enough information has been made available through the regulatory process to determine environmental impacts nor infringements to Wet’suwet’en rights title and interest.
Current benefits offered by the province and pipeline companies do not take into account the impacts and infringements to our lands, culture and community well-being, for today and into the future.
One group, the Unist’ot’en Camp, representing one house of the Wet’suwet’en continues to camp out in the bush, and the group says they are determined to block any pipeline construction within their traditional territory.
In its news release, BC says, benefits agreements are separate and different than industry impact benefit agreements. Pipeline benefits agreements are made between the Province and First Nations, exclusive of proponents. Impact benefit agreements are made between proponents and First Nations, exclusive of the Province.