Alberta surroundings minister says First Nations issues with Teck Frontier are about cash

The Alberta authorities says a First Nation’s issues concerning the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine are extra about getting an even bigger share of the royalties than about defending water, bison and different environmental issues.

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam despatched the federal authorities a letter final week expressing issues that the Alberta authorities’s failure to deal with environmental and cultural issues concerning the venture was placing it in danger as a deadline approaches for the federal authorities to provide its approval.


However Alberta Setting Minister Jason Nixon mentioned Tuesday that Adam’s “main” focus is on cash.  

“The truth is once we are assembly with Chief Adam, he continues to primarily concentrate on cash,” Nixon informed Energy & Politics host Vassy Kapelos. “We’re very clear on the truth that we’re not going to purchase Teck approval. That is not one thing we’re going to do.”

Nixon made the feedback the day earlier than a gathering Wednesday between Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the province’s First Nations chiefs.

Alberta Setting Minister Jason Nixon contends the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s issues concerning the Teck Frontier venture will not be simply environmental in nature, however financial too. 10:58

In July, a federal-provincial environmental panel really helpful the approval of the Teck Frontier mine. The $20.6-billion venture from Vancouver-based Teck Assets would disturb 292 sq. kilometres of pristine wetlands and boreal forest — an space half the scale of the town of Edmonton — over its four-decade lifespan. Nonetheless, the entire space will not be mined directly.

Alberta is anticipated to reap $55 billion in tax and royalty income over the mine’s 41-year life primarily based on a worth of $95 a barrel for oil or extra.

ACFN is certainly one of two Alberta First Nations whose reserve lands are positioned about 15 kilometres away from the mega-mine in northeastern Alberta. 


Along with accusing the Alberta authorities of doubtless derailing approval of the mine, ACFN’s chief has been attempting to get Alberta’s different 47 First Nations leaders behind him forward of Wednesday’s assembly with Kenney.

In a Feb. 10 letter to these chiefs, shared with CBC Information, Adam makes an attempt to rally assist towards the premier’s plan for a Crown company to facilitate Indigenous possession in pure useful resource initiatives.

Calling it a “urgent matter,” Adam calls on bands “to ship a powerful message” towards the Alberta authorities’s try to get First Nations to take part within the Alberta Indigenous Alternatives Company. The AIOC would difficulty mortgage ensures or backstops so First Nations and Métis communities might purchase possession stakes in useful resource initiatives.


As an alternative, Adam mentioned if the Alberta authorities desires Indigenous communities to get behind useful resource initiatives, they should share royalties.

“If the federal government of Alberta is critical about getting Indigenous communities on board with main industrial initiatives,” Adam writes, “it ought to present a share of the realized tax income from every venture to impacted Nations.”

A spokesperson for Alberta’s surroundings minister additionally seized on Adam’s letter to the chiefs, citing the ACFN chief’s preoccupation with cash and never the surroundings. 


“It’s fascinating that so quickly after his letter to the federal authorities claiming his issues are concerning the surroundings, Chief Adam now writes one other letter specializing in direct monetary compensation,” Nixon’s press secretary, Jess Sinclair, mentioned.

Sinclair additionally defended the AIOC, saying it offers enterprise alternatives for Indigenous communities.

‘Stop calling us cash hungry’

Adam mentioned the Alberta authorities was trying to painting him in a unfavorable mild, attempting to depend on tropes about First Nations chiefs.


Adam mentioned he shall be confronting the Alberta Premier at Wednesday’s assembly with chiefs.

“I’m going to inform the premier: ‘Mr. Premier, you’re barking down the unsuitable tree. Evidently you wish to kill this venture with Teck Assets. We made the settlement with Teck Assets. We accepted of Teck Assets. Why cannot you cope with mitigation for the lifetime of the venture with ACFN and get this by and stop calling us cash hungry?'”

ACFN wouldn’t say how a lot cash it is asking for from the Alberta authorities. Nonetheless, Adam famous among the funding his band is asking would go to compensate the group for irreversible impacts of the venture and habitat and wildlife monitoring.