Local Métis, First Nation Leaders React To Teck’s Decision Regarding Frontier Project

Teck Resources’ decision to withdraw its Frontier application isn’t sitting too well with multiple local Indigenous groups.

The oil company announced on Sunday they were moving away from the 260,000 barrel per day oilsands.

Fort McKay Mtis Nation

Ron Quintal, President of the Fort McKay Mtis Nation, tells Mix News this is a huge loss to his community and the region.

“There’s a loss of potential jobs, there’s a loss of potential economic opportunity. There was an injection of $20 billion coming into this region.”

Teck cited concerns regarding climate change and the inability to find a middle ground between the environment and economy.

These concerns have been top of mind for the company since the beginning as they’ve consulted with every local Indigenous group to help find solutions.

Quintal says it’s upsetting as Teck was determined to limit the sites potential impact.

“You have a company like Teck who was aware of climate change and who wanted to build climate change into their plan, so from our perspective, it’s like losing one of your best friends so to speak.”

“They have 14 Indigenous communities come forward endorsing the project and that doesn’t buy political currency,” added Quintal. “Then what does?”

The FMMN has reached out to the federal and provincial governments requesting a meeting with all local Indigenous groups to rectify this situation.

Fort McKay First Nation

The Fort McKay First Nation says they’re disappointed with the decision.

In a statement, Chief Mel Grandjamb noted Teck was paving the way for a more eco-friendly oil industry.

“Teck went above and beyond the standard environmental protection requirements, making real contributions to the protection of woodland caribou, wood buffalo, and their habitats, and relinquishing land that was incorporated into the new Kitaskino Nuwanene Wildland Provincial Park.”

He adds the economic loss to his community will be big. They had plans to use the revenue to help support their Elder’s long-term care centre and their new K-9 school.

“There are a lot of perspectives on this decision and its implications but let us not lose sight of this: collaboration and consultation with First Nation communities on natural resource development projects is critical for our shared success and prosperity.”

Fort McMurray Mtis

As for the Fort McMurray Mtis, CEO Bill Loutitt says they understand why Teck did what they did.

“As a Mtis community near the Frontier Project, we strongly supported Teck’s application. The decision by Teck to withdraw its application from the regulatory process was the right decision.”

Louitt added the company acted in the best interest of many Canadians.

Mikisew Cree First Nation

Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Archie Waquan also released a statement, noting they respect their decision.

He also believes Teck’s consultation with all Indigenous groups has set a new precedent for future oil projects.

“We built stronger relationships with government and industry on how consultation can proactively take cultural, environmental, social and community needs into account in decision-making. That good work stands as a model.”

Despite the project not moving forward, the MCFN is in Ottawa meeting with Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson about continuing the conversation of protecting Wood Buffalo National Park.

“We must continue this important work,” added Melody Lepine, Director of MCFN Government and Industry Relations. “This is essential for a healthy Peace Athabasca Delta.”

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