Unauthorized workers escorted off Flora Banks.
The Lax U’u’la Warriors are of all Nations, Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Haida, and non indigenous. After they hiked across Flora banks at low tide, and made it back to their skiffs, they interrupted the Drill boat who commenced drilling on Flora Banks at approximately 840am.
They threatened the Lax U’u’la Warriors with arrest and RCMP, but the Tsimshians have inherit rights to to stop all drilling activity on Flora Banks if they want their Rights and Title over Lax U’u’la & Flora banks to be successful in the courts.
So far Tsimshian villages have been only releasing press releases over the area, but do not come out to support. Today Lax Kwalams Fisheries stepped in to document, record, GPS their location of the drillers. Which is what hereditary leader Yahaan has been asking for, their own boats out there to observe them.
“Our Traditional ways of life and the resources which have sustained our people are not to be pawns in the Christie Clark Government’s LNG dreams. Development within our Traditional territories must have our Free, Prior and Informed consent. The people of Lax’walams spoke very clearly in their rejection of the 1.25 billion dollar offer from Petronas, and this camp builds upon that rejection. This issue is not just a First Nations issue but one that will affect all British Columbians, especially those who rely upon healthy and abundant Fish stocks, of a variety of species at the mouth of the Skeena River.”
– Lax Kw’alaams Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donald Wesley)
The end goal is to stop the drillers, and to save Flora banks.
*port Simpson band office and the Lax Uula camp are both separate entities, and the Mayor Gary Reece does not speak for the camp. The Lax Uula warriors are all working together to protect the salmon habitat. Prince Rupert has 3 proposed LNG facilities, all have the potential to collapse the salmon run up the Skeena and the Nass River.
How did we get to this point?
Via – laxuula.com
What is the plan for the LNG plant?
A consortium led by Petronas is planning to build an $11 Billion dollar liquified natural gas (LNG) plant on our traditional Lax Kw’alaams territory Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) at the mouth of the Skeena river near Prince Rupert, BC. The marine section consists of a 1.6 km bridge that would extend over part of Flora Bank, followed by a 1.3 km trestle with pilings alongside Flora Bank to a tanker berth, requiring hundreds of piles deep into soft sediment. A 48″ diameter submarine pipeline would be dredged into estuary sediment for 9.4 km toward the southwest corner of the island to supply fracked gas from Treaty 8 territory in NE BC.
Our fish are worth more than money.
The shallow eelgrass beds of Flora Bank directly southwest of Lax U’u’la are the most important juvenile fish habitat in the entire Skeena river system for salmon, steelhead, and numerous other species of seafood. Out-migrating smolts use Flora and Agnew Banks in the spring to undergo the physiological changes required to adjust from fresh to salt water, to feed, and to hide from predators. Upon leaving the river, smolts instinctively turn north and travel through Inverness Passage to Flora Bank, and then continue to Alaska. 88% of all migrating salmon from the Skeena river, or 330 Million every year, rely on Flora Bank. 10 Nations and 60 000 people in the Skeena watershed rely on these fish for food, commercial fishing, and cultural identity. Eelgrass is highly sensitive to light levels, and juvenile fish are incredibly sensitive to noise. The silt sediments that make up Flora and Agnew Banks are in a balance of constant erosion and deposition, and changes to the complex tidal and river flows that govern this process due to the proposed bridge supports, pilings, and pipeline dredging could sink or render Flora Bank dry. Click here to learn more about Flora Banks and their importance to wild salmon.
We voted 100% NO to the project.
Without any warning, in early May 2015, Petronas offered Lax Kw’alaams $1.25 Billion dollars to allow them to build their plant on our Lax U’u’la territory. This offer took our small community by surprise. In three rounds of voting, our community voted 100% unanimously NO to this offer, as the risk to salmon in Flora Bank is not something that can be bought. We stated clearly that Flora Banks is off-limits to industrial development.
The government and industry ignored us.
After the vote, the BC government and Petronas have acted as if the vote did not happen. Without changing their plant design, Petronas gave their conditional Final Investment Decision on June 11, 2015 for the project, making it the first LNG project in BC to get to final investment. On July 13, 2015, BC passed the LNG Project Agreements Act to allow Petronas to build on Lax U’u’la, and also locking in an incredibly low corporate LNG tax rate (3.5%) for 25 years that is only collectable after full capital cost payback, a hefty tax break.
In lat August 2015, we heard rumours that Petronas would be conducting test drilling near Lax U’u’la and on Flora Bank.
At this point, we had enough.
So we are now occupying our territory Lax U’u’la.
On Aug.25, 2015, Sm’yooget Yahaan (Donald Wesley) and other Tsimshian members set up camp on Lax U’u’la. Despite clear direction from our nation to stay away from Flora Bank, contractor companies under the direction of the Prince Rupert Port Authority began test drilling near Lax U’u’la on Sept.11. They were turned away on multiple occasions over the following days, including when workers were caught walking on Flora Bank at low tide.
Multiple nations and many people, native and non-native, are getting behind us on this cause, including the Nine Allied Tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams, who announced Title litigation to Lax U’u’la on Sept. 16, 2015.
We are also backed by the Gitxsan House group of Luutkudziiwus, who have been operating a camp on their traditional Madii Lii territory since Aug. 2014 to block construction of the proposed PRGT pipeline that would supply fracked gas to the PNW LNG plant. We are standing together with Madii Lii camp to stop the same project, and to save Skeena salmon. Click here to visit Madii Lii webpage.
We are also in support of the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en who are protecting their traditional Yintah from proposed oil and gas projects.
We cannot trust Petronas.
Petronas is a Malaysian government-owned oil company that provides 45% of the national income of Malaysia, and is currently tied up in a financial scandal in their country. The president of the company, Najib Razak, who is also the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is accused of stealing $700 Million and covering up $11 Billion in debt. The company has a record of human rights abuses against indigenous people in Indonesia. On Sept. 10, 2015, a leaked safety audit from Petronas revealed that they had been operating offshore oilrigs in incredibly dangerous states of disrepair in the Indian Ocean up to 2013. Routine safety inspections were overdue by 20 years. Some equipment was deemed at risk of causing human death.
We cannot trust this company to build a safe LNG plant anywhere.