First Nations-led environmental assessment needed for B.C. projects like Site C, says coalition
Another environmental assessment means projects may have 3 tests — provincial, federal and First Nations
A First Nations coalition is calling for First Nations-led environmental assessments for big energy projects in B.C. like Site C.
That environmental assessment mean projects would potentially have to pass three environmental tests — provincial, federal, and First Nations.
Advocates of a First Nations-led assessment say the process would take into account industry's' interests as well.
In fact, a process that puts First Nations in the driver seat means projects will be more likely to get the green light from First Nations groups, said one First Nations leader.
"It isn't a tool to say no — certainly not. We want to be able to work with industry and government to reach an understanding of the value chain of LNG," said Theresa Tait-Day, a member of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition.
"Having our own environmental standards in place at the same time, working in unison — [it is] likely projects will go ahead."
Buying a stake in projects
The coalition was created in 2014 after First Nations groups had difficulty buying equity in projects. The coalition, made up of First Nations representatives from northern B.C., decided it needed to create a group that represented their collective interests.
"We had discussions around that whole area and decided that the best approach would be to look at equity ownership … so that we can make decisions about what it is that we want to protect," said Tait-Day.
"First Nations needs to be a part of that development to ensure future generations have a say as to what happens to their environment."
With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition