BC First Nations and the Clean Energy Association of BC (CEBC) signed on 24 June 2014 a memorandum of understanding to work together to help develop the clean-energy sector in BC.
At CEBC’s annual meeting in Vancouver, 13 First Nations representatives, the First Nations Energy and Mining Council, and CEBC pledged to work together to further mutual interests in BC’s clean and renewable energy sector. That includes wind, small hydro, biomass, biogas, solar, geothermal and natural-gas electricity generation.
Councillor Garry Feschuk of the Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nation, one of the initial leaders of the MOU, said: “There is no reason why the Clean Energy sector cannot power a new era of economic development for First Nations in BC. First Nations are distributed throughout BC and so are the clean generation fuels—we should all be able to benefit from this sector.”
Paul Kariya, executive director of CEBC, added: “Clean Energy is an enabling sector in natural resource development in BC. Our fuels are clean and for the most part non-consumptive which appeals to First Nations who want to protect the environment, have legacy infrastructure and support sustainable economic development.”
Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, said it is open to the right type of economic development. “We want jobs, investment and a lasting economy. We want to help Canada make the transition to a clean-energy economy. There is no place for an LNG industry that does not achieve the goal of being the cleanest in the world.”
Bill Bennett, BC’s minister of energy and mines, said: “British Columbia’s clean-energy sector has a strong track record of working collaboratively with First Nations to promote economic development. Working with First Nations is a key part of doing business in British Columbia and this MOU will help to strengthen these important partnerships.”
John Rustad, BC’s minister of Aboriginal relations and reconciliation, witnessed the signing of the MOU.
In all, 125 First Nations have had some involvement in clean energy in BC and all are welcome to sign the MOU.
CEBC is BC’s clean-energy industry association. It has 220 members, who produce 15% of the power on BC’s grid.
The 13 First Nations representatives signed on behalf of these bodies:
Sts’ailes First Nation, Klahoose First Nation, Shíshálh First Nation, Sliammon First Nation, Squamish Nation, Lil’wat Nation, Coastal First Nations, Tahltan Central Council, Treaty 8 Tribal Association, T’Sou-Ke Nation, In-SHUCK-ch Nation, Samahquam First Nation, Skatin First Nation