Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion

2016-10-07

in Canada, Law, Politics, The environment

This is a thoroughly intriguing development:

First Nations communities from Canada and the northern United States signed a treaty on Thursday to jointly fight proposals to build more pipelines to carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands, saying further development would damage the environment.

The treaty, signed in Montreal and Vancouver, came as the politics around pipelines have become increasingly sensitive in North America, with the U.S. Justice Department intervening last week to delay construction of a contentious pipeline in North Dakota.

The document itself calls “[t]he expansion of the Tar Sands… a truly monumental threat bearing down on all Indigenous Nations in Canada and beyond”.

The document identifies risks from pipeline spills, train derailments, and tanker accidents. On climate change, it identifies “effects that have already started to endanger our ways of life and which now threaten our very survival”. The document calls for signatories to “officially prohibit and to agree to collectively challenge and resist the use of our respective territories and coasts for the expansion of the production of Tar Sands, including for the transport of such expanded production, whether by pipeline, rail or tanker”

According to CBC News it has been signed by 50 aboriginal groups in North America, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe which is resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as opponents of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline and Energy East.

Related: Is environmentalist solidarity with indigenous peoples opportunistic?

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