Local Indigenous Communities Disappointed By Keystone Pipeline Setback

Multiple Indigenous communities in the RMWB are expressing their disappointment with the latest setback to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Newly sworn-in President Joe Biden revoked the project’s permit on Wednesday as one of his first actions in office.

This has been met with a lot of pushback from the government of Alberta which recently invested $1.5 billion in the project and had plans to provide an additional $6 billion this year.

Ron Quintal, President of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, tells Mix News the province isn’t the only one frustrated by the decision.

“It’s short-sighted and I think that’s the real frustration of it, I think there was a lot of contradictory facts about this project that weren’t given the proper amount of attention.”

The pipeline would be nearly 2,000 km long connecting Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska.

It would transport around 830,000 barrels per day to Gulf Coast Refineries. In Alberta alone, the project was expected to create around 1,400 direct and 5,400 indirect jobs.

Most of the concerns around the project have focused on climate change and the environment.

“You can have development if it’s done responsibly,” added Mel Grandjamb, Chief of the Fort McKay First Nation. “It has to be able to protect our treaty rights and more importantly also the environment.”

That’s where the McMurray Métis believe most of the frustration comes from – a lack of consultation with Indigenous communities.

CEO Bill Loutitt noted the project was approved while talks were still happening, while also not properly follow needed regulatory approval like the Trans Mountain expansion project.

He believes if this had happened, the public’s opinion may be different.

The three communities also believe President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should take a trip to the RMWB to see the impacts these projects have on Indigenous people and the work being done to tackle climate change.

“We have a lot of completed reclamation projects out here that show you can responsibly put the land and still be able to use it,” added Loutitt.

Mix News also reached out to the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

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