Alliance opposed to oilsands development asks PM to denounce Enbridge

OTTAWA – A First Nations alliance opposed to expanding the oilsands wants the prime minister to condemn energy giant Enbridge Inc., over its connection to a pipeline project which has angered indigenous people in the United States.

In North Dakota, hundreds of Standing Rock Sioux tribal members have been protesting the 2,000-kilometre Dakota Access oil pipeline project, which they say will damage the region’s water supply and endanger sacred sites.

It is time for Trudeau take a stand on the matter, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said in a statement Monday.

First Nations formed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sand Expansion in September.

The majority of its supporters are based in Canada, but it also includes U.S. tribes such as the Standing Rock Sioux.

Enbridge said Monday it is not yet an owner of the Bakken pipeline system, which includes the Dakota Access project.

It also said it is monitoring the situation in North Dakota and noted its planned investment for a minority equity ownership does not include construction or management of the project.

“We recognize there are opposing points of view and are hopeful for a peaceful resolution that respects the legal rights of everyone involved,” the company said in a statement.

“We recognize the importance of engagement with Native Americans and other stakeholders on these important energy infrastructure projects and support an inclusive regulatory process where all voices can be heard.”

The Prime Minister’s Office directed a request for comment to Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr’s office, which did not refer to the North Dakota protests or Enbridge in its response.

“We embrace a diversity of views and opinions with respect to Canada’s energy future, and we encourage people to express their views peacefully,” the office said.