As you may be aware, the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations have made attempts through negotiations and in the courts to halt companies from drilling for natural gas in area known as the Peace – Moberly Tract, a critical wildlife refuge and cultural use area. In the BC Supreme Court, Saulteau First Nation failed to convince Justice Cohen that comprehensive environmental and cultural studies were required prior to drilling. Vintage Energy will not be in a position to drill until next December under winter conditions.
This week, community members of Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations urged Saulteau to appeal the decision. In response, Vintage Energy notified the two First Nations that they intended to proceed with the construction of the access road and well site. It appears that this was done with the purpose of rendering any further legal action moot. Other companies such as EnCana and Lousiana based, Peace River Corporation are looking to access the area to explore for and develop conventional and coal bed methane gas.
In the interim, community members have held meetings and decided to send people out the Tract to support the elders and hunters already in the area carrying out winter/spring bush activities. The majority of community contractors have acted in unity with the band councils and community members and have refused offers of employment and contract opportunities. Community members have also set up check points at key access points around the Peace – Moberly Tract.
Tensions are high and the community is awaiting any movement by Vintage or other companies over the coming days and weeks.
Saulteau First Nation will be issuing this press release in the coming days.
Dogwood Initiative comment on the legal decision dismissing the Saulteau challenge to the Oil and Gas Commission permit to Vintage
BC Supreme Court decision