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Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs challenge LNG project’s promises

The Hereditary Chiefs have raised their concerns to Ksi Lisims LNG
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An artist’s rendition of the Ksi Lisims LNG floating facility. Representatives for the prospective project say the remote nature of the plan would mitigate social and environmental concerns. (Illustration courtesy of Ksi Lisims LNG)

The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs (GHC) has challenged a natural gas project to prove their claims while in the midst of a land dispute currently in front of the courts.

On Feb. 9, GHC issued a statement challenging the Ksi Lisims LNG project’s claims regarding climate impacts and fisheries in the Nass Watershed.

The project is a proposed floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility located on a site owned by the Nisga’a Nation near the community of Gingolx on the northwest coast of B.C.

The project will have a capacity of 12 million tonnes of low carbon LNG per year for markets in the pacific basic, most notably in Asia.

The GHC originally issued a detailed response to Ksi Lisims LNG back in December, questioning the validity of Ksi Lisims’ claims of being net zero with the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of any global project. The response letter outlined Gitanyow’s concerns about the project’s assessments and called for a need of a comprehensive evaluation that included hydroelectric development, pipeline emissions and upstream natural gas development.

Simogyet Malii (Glen Williams) president of the GHC, says that Ksi Lisims’s claims that their project will reduce carbon emissions is simply “not credible.”

“The implications of the Ksi Lisims project for increasing drought, wildfires, and glacial recession within Gitanyow’s traditional territory and globally are alarming,” he said. “If Ksi Lisims LNG is dedicated to reducing climate impacts and GHG emissions, Gitanyow challenges the proponents to provide all evidence to support their claims.”

The GHC also raised concerns over the potential impact of the LNG project on salmon populations in the Nass and Skeena Watersheds. Their response challenges the assessment methods and calls for a more thorough review of the potential effects on salmon and bull kelp habitats, which are vital for Gitanyow’s food security and cultural practices.

Since last November, Gitanyow has been looking for answers from Ksi Lisims to determine whether a Gitanyow Wilp Sustainability Assessment Process (WSAP) should be initiated, which is crucial for reviewing major developments within Gitanyow Lax’yip or those affecting Gitanyow rights.

The GHC have also urged for a pause in the current British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) review process until essential studies have been completed. Gitanyow is currently seeking additional details from Ksi Lisims LNG before they proceed with initiating a WSAP assessment.

“Gitanyow calls for commitments from both Ksi Lisims LNG and the BCEAO to pause the review process until our requested information is provided,” said Naxginkw (Tara Marsden) Wilp sustainability director for the GHC. “Additionally, if a WSAP assessment is initiated, Gitanyow requests collaboration to determine appropriate timelines, ensuring meaningful consideration in provincial decisions.”

Black Press Media reached out to Ksi Lisims LNG for comment, and they stated that while the dispute does not involve the land where their facility will be located, they decline to comment on Gitanyow’s current position on the project.

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