The Lheidli T'enneh First Nation is suing Enbridge.
Their court action, filed Wednesday morning, demands that the multinational corporation turn off the flow of natural gas through its territory and remove the two Enbridge pipelines from Lheidli ground.
This action was taken due to the explosion of the existing pipeline. The blast was enormous and happened on the doorstep of the main Lheidli T'enneh residential area. People that close to the eruption are still reportedly traumatized by the event.
The blast has never been explained, said lawyers and leaders for the Prince George-based First Nation, yet natural gas continues to flow and the company hasn't extended so much as an apology, let alone restitution of the pain and damage, or acknowledgment that safety measures of any kind have been taken.
As the unceded original nation of record at the point of the explosion, the Lheidli government is demanding this shutdown, on behalf of safety along the entire length of that particular pipeline.
Enbridge issued a response, which reads:
Enbridge’s natural gas pipeline system has been operating in B.C. for more than 60 years. Throughout that time, we have had strong relationships with many Indigenous communities near our pipeline system, including the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation.
The natural gas transported by our pipeline system is a critical piece of energy infrastructure, the operation of which was determined by the National Energy Board to be in the public interest. The gas transported by this system is used to heat homes, hospitals, businesses and schools. It is also used as a fuel for electric power generation and is a staple in a number of industrial and manufacturing processes that produce products that improve our lives.
It is not in the public interest to stop operating a critical piece of energy infrastructure that millions of people in B.C. and the U.S. Pacific Northwest rely on every day.
At Enbridge, safety is our number one priority. Following the incident on our natural gas pipeline north of Prince George, B.C. on Oct. 9, 2018, Enbridge has been advancing a comprehensive safety and integrity review of our natural gas pipeline system in B.C. This involves undertaking a rigorous inspection of every section of pipeline using sophisticated tools that detect potential problems. This comprehensive program also involves integrity digs and maintenance where necessary. This is an intensive effort intended to validate the safety and reliability of the entire B.C. system.
Enbridge is cooperating with the Transportation Safety Board, which is the lead investigator for this incident. The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation has been involved in the post-incident review process. A post-incident debriefing session on the emergency response on Nov. 21 involved multiple agencies, including the National Energy Board, emergency response services, Enbridge and leadership of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
Enbridge is committed to fostering a strengthened relationship with Indigenous communities, including the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, built upon openness, respect and mutual trust. We notified the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation of the pipeline incident within nine minutes and immediately began to provide the community with support. The next day, Enbridge representatives participated at a community meeting to provide additional information. We have included members of the First Nation on a flyover of the incident site, participated in two council meetings, and provided numerous updates to the community.
Our CEO Al Monaco has been in personal contact with Chief Dominic Frederick for a one-on-one meeting to strengthen and improve our relationship, and committed a team involving senior executives to negotiate a settlement and an agreement to frame our relationship going forward.
We value our relationship with Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and are committed to continuing to work with leadership and the community on strengthening that relationship.