Canada's petroleum industry leaders are pressing provincial and federal energy ministers today to provide more decisive leadership in dealing with aboriginal blockades spreading across northeastern British Columbia.
"We are encouraging governments to resolve the land claims issues as fast as we can," said Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
CAPP's plea for action was delivered to the annual conference of energy minister in Quebec City just as natives set up a fresh blockade, barring Canadian Natural Resources from a gas site near Fort St. John.
Petro-Canada, Anadarko and Westcoast Energy have all been ordered off native lands or forced to shelve plans for exploration wells and pipelines in one of North America's liveliest gas plays.
The Blueberry River First Nation became the third of eight under the Treaty 8 Tribal Association to shut down oil and gas activities by using a bulldozer and fallen trees to deny CNR access to a gas processing plant.
In the process it added to the aboriginal list of grievances, covering land claims, treat rights and environmental concerns by demanding CNR close all operations until a review is done of the health hazards and impact on the community of producing sour gas in the area.
"We have reached our limit of tolerance as a community and our demands must be met," said a letter from protest leader Clarence Apsassin, who claimed that sulfur-dioxide laden gas is affecting residents.