Coastal GasLink Lacks EAO Permits on Wet’suwet’en Territory


Dark House’s legal team has written a letter to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, taking exception with the numerous political statements that “all permits are in place”. That is false. Coastal GasLink (TC Energy) does not have the Environmental Assessment Permit to operate in Dark House Territory.

CGL’s original application omitted the existence of the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, and the use of the territory for traditional healing activities. The Environmental Assessment Office acknowledged to Unist’ot’en in a recent meeting that if the Healing Center were a settler-owned wilderness lodge, that there would be no debate over whether it should have been considered in CGL’s final report.

This is institutionalized racism.

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Here is the content of the letter:

Bernard Achampong
Executive Project Director
B.C. Environmental Assessment Office Via email

Dear Mr. Achampong:

Re: Environmental Assessment Certificate E14-03 Condition 1 Report #2

February 10, 2020

We write on behalf of our client, Dark House, in respect of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Last week, the RCMP commenced enforcement action pursuant to the BC Supreme Court’s December 31, 2019 injunction order. The enforcement action took place following repeated public statements by your government indicating that all permits for the project are in place.

As you are aware, these statements are inaccurate. The Environmental Assessment Office has yet to make a decision to accept Coastal GasLink’s Certificate E14-03 Condition 1 Report #2 in respect of the Morice River Technical Boundary Area. In the absence of a decision on the Report, substantial portions of work on the project cannot proceed.

The Technical Boundary Area is within Dark House territory and subject to Wet’suwet’en title and rights. It also includes the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre. Coastal GasLink’s draft Report fails to consider or address how the project will affect the Healing Centre or Dark House’s ability to provide land-based healing practices to individuals experiencing the effects of intergenerational trauma and colonization.

Dark House has advised the EAO of its concerns regarding the adequacy of the draft Report in its letters of November 7, 2019 and December 17, 2019, and at our in-person meeting on December 9, 2019.

We have also repeatedly emphasized Dark House leadership’s desire to meet with you in person to discuss their concerns regarding the impacts of the project on the Healing Centre. We have yet to receive a decision on the Report, nor has the EAO met with Dark House leadership.

In our view, any decision to accept the Report in its current form would be contrary to the EAO’s own guidelines in respect of the Environmental Assessment Certificate, as well as the Province’s obligations to Dark House pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and its commitments in respect of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. .

Please advise how your office intends to address the deficiencies in the Report and fulfill its obligations to consult with our client.

We further expect that the EAO will provide Dark House with written reasons regarding any decision to accept the Report in its current form.

Yours truly,

Kate Gunn
First Peoples Law Corporation

Cc. Client