Lelu Island and Flora Bank is critical habitat for wild salmon, located at the mouth of the Skeena River in northwestern B.C. The area has now been declared permanently protected from industrial development by a coalition of First Nations leaders, local residents and federal and provincial politicians.
The Lelu Island Declaration will be a “major obstacle” to Malaysian-owned oil and gas giant, Petronas. The company intends to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Prince Rupert, reads a press release.
“The Lelu Declaration sends a powerful message to Premier [Christy] Clark and Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau,” said Hereditary Chief Yahaan of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams. “The support to stop this LNG project is overwhelming. Nations are united from the headwaters of the Skeena River to the ocean. Together, we will fight this to the end.”
The declaration was the culmination of a two-day Salmon Nation Summit. More than 300 hereditary and elected First Nations leaders, scientists, politicians, commercial and sport fishermen gathered “to defend wild salmon from the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.”
The Petronas project was rejected by NDP MP Nathan Cullen (Bulkley Valley), and three northern NDP MLAs, Jennifer Rice (North Coast), Doug Donaldson (Stikine), and Robin Austin (Skeena).
“This project isn’t going to happen. This project can’t happen,” Cullen said.
Gerald Amos, chair of Friends of Wild Salmon, stated “We honour the support of our elected representatives. Unlike the Clark government, they are prepared to stand up for an economy that recognizes our Aboriginal title, plays a part in the fight against climate change, and favours long-term prosperity for all the people of the Skeena, over short-term gain for foreign investors.”