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For an interesting take on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, and the likely impact of the British Columbia government’s public rejection of the proposal, check out the excellent US environmental news program, Living on Earth. Like many other observers, Living on Earth concludes that the federal government might find it hard to override BC’s opposition to the oil sands pipeline, but that it’s the opposition of the native groups along the pipeline’s path that will really stop it from going ahead.

The Save The Fraser Declaration has now been signed by more than 130 bands. It is described as “a document of indigenous law, banning the Northern Gateway pipeline, and any similar projects, from crossing the signatories’ territories.” The signatories declare: “We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River Salmon.”

The Declaration was originally negotiated in November 2010 by the Yinka Dene Alliance and the St’át’imc Nation. It was then signed by representatives from over 60 First Nations, who call themselves the Save The Fraser Gathering of Nations. Many other bands have since joined the declaration. They argue that any federal government decision allowing the pipeline to proceed would infringe on their aboriginal title and rights and breach Canada’s obligations under international law.

This powerful opposition may mean that the US State Department has to rethink its conclusion, on the Keystone XL pipeline, that oil sands oil will get to market, one way or another, with or without Keystone XL.

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