Port Alberni, BC – The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is very perturbed with the BC Government in proposing amendments to the Clean Energy Act without our consent or even consultation on what impacts this would have on our rights and our ability to create clean energy for economic development purposes.
The amendments allow for the elimination of self-sufficiency from the Clean Energy Act. This means that the government can buy power from other jurisdictions and not have to buy power from First Nations independent power producers. BC Hydro already buys 10% from other jurisdictions as is. This is the motivation that drives BC to eliminate self sufficiency as well as the desire to create more revenue for Powerex.
The proposed amendments to the Clean Energy Act allow the Government, with a stroke of the pen, with no debate in the B.C. Legislature, to define “clean energy” and “clean resources” to include any kind of power including brown thermal generation. Brown imports from Alberta or the U.S. could easily occur.
President Judith Sayers says that “every step the BC government takes in clean energy is away from BC First Nations ability to develop power now and in the future. They are not listening to Nuu-chah-nulth’s desires to create clean energy for economic purposes. They do support minor development on reserve but that is not enough. Why is BC trying to stifle entrepreneurship especially First Nation entrepreneurship? BC Hydro should not be allowed to be a monopoly.”
Mariah Charleson, Vice President says “Of the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, 13 Nations are involved in the development and production of clean energy or want to be. There is a great
interest in Nuu-chah-nulth Nations in this industry and the failure of the government to work with us on this amendment is a failure of reconciliation, UNDRIP and DRIPA.”
The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) s. 3 states that “In consultation and cooperation with the Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, the government must take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of British Columbia are consistent with the Declaration.”.
UNDRIP is very clear that First Nations have the right to development and the right to be actively involved in developing economics affecting them., Also the right to own, use, develop and control their lands, territories and resources…(Articles 23 and 26).
Judith Sayers further commented “There has been no consultation and cooperation on an Act that affects First Nations people, in fact it was a surprise that this amendment was done. They did have a Phase 2 review of BC Hydro and asked people about self sufficiency. An interim report which was meant to be a discussion paper did not have any conclusions regarding self sufficiency. If they really cared about what people in BC are concerned about, why didn’t they wait for the final report with recommendations? If they were going to do what they want, why bother wasting everyone’s time in responding to the Phase 2 report?”
Nuu-chah-nulth demand that this amendment be tabled until such time as the BC Government lives up to its own laws, commitments, and building relationships with First Nations people.