(Whitecap Dakota Nation, Treaty 6 Territory) The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive says the protection of the land and water and consultation with First Nations must be top priorities during the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) pipeline project that crosses through Treaty Six and Treaty Four territories.

“As projects like L3RP go forward it is crucial that stringent protections for the environment be put in place to protect our communities and that our First Nations concerns and recommendations are abided by based on our Inherent and Treaty Rights to lands and resources. As the original stewards of the land, First Nations will be a part of all resource development initiatives so our grassroots people, leaders, youth and future generations can benefit,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a press release. “It is in the best interest of us all, to learn from the Standing Rock experience and find solutions through consultation and accommodation. ”

Thirteen Indigenous groups from Saskatchewan participated in the National Energy Board (NEB) process including a number of First Nation communities. First Nations communities have expressed concern about the environmental protections on their reserve and traditional lands.

The NEB report issued on April 25, 2016 on L3RP included 89 conditions and the Liberal government has made it mandatory for Enbridge to “meet and exceed” all 89 conditions.  One condition was that Enbridge must develop a plan for First Nations to participate in monitoring the construction of the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

FSIN Vice-Chief Edward Dutch Lerat, responsible for the lands and resources portfolio, will work to ensure that Enbridge is transparent and inclusive when they work with the First Nations on monitoring the pipeline project, and will continue to play a role by providing information on development of the project, as well as raising issues or concerns of the First Nations in Saskatchewan.

“In order for Enbridge to exceed the NEB conditions, particularly that it must develop a plan for First Nations to participate in monitoring the construction of the Line 3, it must also develop a process to ensure that First Nations’ monitoring goes beyond the construction phase and includes an on-going operational monitoring process for the life of the pipeline.  The traditional knowledge of our elders must be part of the monitoring process.”

The FSIN is currently participating in the four reviews with the Federal Government on the Environmental Assessment Process; modernization of the National Energy Board; review of the Fisheries Act; and review of the Navigation Protection Act.  The FSIN is proposing the creation of a Section 35 Compliance Office and First Nations Monitoring office, which would provide technical capacity to First Nations in both the assessment and implementation stages of natural resource development projects.

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