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October 22, 2012
First Nations group files constitutional challenge
A First Nations group claims Shell Oil Canada's plan to expand the Jackpine Mine oilsands facility violates Aboriginal rights and has filed a constitutional challenge against the project.
“We have repeatedly tried to engage with both the government and Shell to find a better way to address our rights,” stated Chief Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN).
“However, the government has not listened to us or made meaningful attempts to accommodate the ACFN in relation to the impacts of this and other tar sands projects.”
The application for the proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion project near Fort McMurray, Alberta is scheduled to appear before the Joint Review Panel starting on Oct. 29.
The First Nation filed a constitutional challenge in the joint review process against Shell Oil Canada’s application. It outlines the government’s failure to uphold Treaty 8.
The panel is required to hear constitutional challenges before the full public hearings. Shell is proposing to expand the Jackpine Mine project, which involves additional mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure.
The project would be located about 70 km north of Fort McMurray on the east side of the Athabasca River.
The total direct, indirect and induced employment impacts are estimated at 24,500 person-years over the project’s construction period.
The First Nation hopes to set new precedents as a constitutional challenge based on Treaty 8 rights have never been fully argued in front of an Alberta Joint Review panel.
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