MLA pushes for Northern Gateway oil pipeline hearing to be reinstated in Hazelton - Vancouver Sun
By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun July 13, 2012
Stikine NDP MLA Doug Donaldson is calling for the National Energy Board to reinstate a federal panel hearing on the Northern Gateway oil pipeline in the northern B.C. community of Hazelton.
A federal panel reviewing the Northern Gateway pipeline says it has moved a hearing in Hazelton because it is concerned for the safety of participants.
The Hazelton area is the home of the Gitxsan Nation, which is in the midst of an internal dispute over support of the pipeline and the nation’s leadership.
A six-month blockade ended peacefully on June 11.
Gitxsan and municipal leaders say the panel and participants would be safe during the hearing, noting the dispute has never turned violent.
Donaldson agrees, noting that earlier disputes in the area also had not led to violence.
“The fact that people are more at ease making their oral statements in their home communities is recognized by the review panel and is one reason why they originally said they would travel to many of the impacted rural villages,” said Donaldson.
“Removing that option robs residents of the Hazeltons of the same type of access others have had.”
The hearing, scheduled for July 30 in Hazelton, has been moved to nearby Smithers, 60 kilometres to the east.