The harmful effects of the Athabasca tar sands is not a business externality or burden the Environment and Provincial and Indigenous communities can truly bear without real structure to support environmental sustainability.
- President of the United States of America
It is with the deepest respect for your administration that Idle No More writes to urge you not to move forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline project into Canada. This energy contract between the United States and Canada is one fraught with two major inconsistencies that are rarely addressed yet crucial to the well-being of Indigenous peoples in these lands.
• Environmental sustainability: It has become evident in the transference and extraction of the Athabasca tar sands, near and around Indigenous territories, the environment is not being managed in a sustainable way. The adverse affects, all ecological in nature, directly affect Indigenous communities in three ways:
(a) Waterways are being contaminated;
(b) Wetlands continue to be decimated which protect the Cree and Denesuline way of life, the caribou;
(c) Indigenous populations will be displaced and have to leave their ancestral homelands to seek safer conditions against their choice.
• Indigenous exclusion from resource revenue sharing: Although the pipeline project is expected to create jobs and tax revenues it also impacts the very people subject to its highest costs, Indigenous communities. Premier Brad Wall signed a declaration for the Province of Saskatchewan in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline. He has also cited he would not share future revenues generated from resources as this with the Indigenous people of his province. This, in effect, economically cuts out the very people who face the greatest risks from oil excavation as is seen in the cases of the Mikisew Cree and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Northern Alberta.
Mr. President, we consider the Keystone XL Pipeline agreement fundamentally flawed since it does not consider the overall consequences on the environment, Indigenous peoples health, and loss to their sacred lands.
We strongly urge you to withhold further movement on the Keystone XL pipeline until full inclusion of Indigenous concerns is included.
Idle No More Movement
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