P a g e
September 16, 2013
NORTHERN FIRST NATIONS OPPOSE THE SHIPMENT OF OIL TO CHURCHILL THROUGH THEIRTRADITIONAL AND TERRITORIAL LANDS AND ENVIRONMENT
The Hudson Bay railway runs through the Hudson Bay Lowlands region which containsthousands of lakes, ponds and small waterways. There is a long history of aboriginal peoplesliving in this area. The Fox Lake, War Lake and York Factory First Nation peoples occupy andcontinue to use this land for hunting, trapping and spiritual purposes. It is a fragile and uniqueeco-system. The traditional knowledge of the local Cree are preserved in place names here,reflecting the long-past history and connection to the land. The Fox Lake and York Factory FirstNations continue to help manage the area through participation on the Wapusk National ParkManagement Board. York Factory First Nation (YFFN) has land in Churchill in close proximity tothe Churchill Marine Tank Farm which will be upgraded to accommodate the oil venture. Alarge number of YFFN members living in Churchill have raised concerns about the potentialimpacts to their means of livelihood, transportation and environment in light of the recentdisaster in Lac-Megantic. In addition, members of several other First Nations have contactedtheir leadership to express their concerns and opposition to the OmniTRAX plan based onhealth concerns, environmental risks and infringement of their aboriginal and treaty rights.OmniTRAX recently announced they want to ship 330,000 barrels of crude oil from the Port of Churchill in a test in October. It proposes to ship bakken crude oil which is produced byhydraulic fracturing of the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana. In addition,starting either next year or in 2015, OmniTRAX, Inc. plans to transport Bakken and WesternIntermediate sweet crude oil on 80-tanker car Hudson Bay Railway trains from The Pas toChurchill to load for 10 Panamax-class tanker ships per shipping season out of Hudson Bay fromJuly through late October or early November.
“Brede told a press conference in Winnipeg Aug. 12 negotiations are underway with about 25
Alberta oil companies that are interested in shipping oil through the port to refineries on either the east coast of Canada or in Europe. But before prospective customers are willing to makelong-term commitments, they want to conduct a trial run, Brede said. If all goes according to plan, a tanker carrying about 330,000 barrels of oil will leave the port on a test run in October
(Thompson Citizen, August 14, 2013).