Friday, 9 November 2012

Caleb's story: defending native territory in BC

Devon drillsite, Horn River
Caleb Behn is fighting to save for his people's territory and culture. Canada's biggest "fracking play" is the Horn River Basin in far northeast BC. Eleven corporations are drilling there: Apache, ConocoPhillips, Devon, EnCana, EOG Resources, Imperial Oil, Nexen, Pengrowth, Suncor, Quicksilver and Stone Mountain. They say they offer jobs and revenue to local First Nations -- but what exactly is offered? how long? and at what cost? This is the theme of the film Fractured Land. Click on this link to view it on Vimeo. On Dec 2013 came another film, Resist: the Unist'ot'en call to the Land, by Eli Hirtle, Hilary Somerville and David Goldberg; its trailer can be seen online.
Though still young, and a recent graduate in Environmental Law and Sustainability from the U of Victoria, Caleb has been involved for years (on behalf of West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations) in the arduous reopened-Treaty 8 negotiations with Ottawa and BC (on behalf of energy companies). He is Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne Za/Cree, a skilled hunter of wildlife in his traditional land, and of heads in corporate boardrooms. He hopes to live off the land and teach his future children the traditional ways  – but to do so, he must first do battle with an industry that threatens to destroy his territory and culture.

Despite corporate propaganda, fracking is neither clean, green, nor ethical. It produces huge GHG emissions, pollutes water sources and endangers health. BC shale gas demands new dams for hydro energy, and much of it is destined for tarsands extraction in Alberta. Energy to produce energy -- polluting at every step.

But North America's fracking frenzy caused a continental glut, driving prices down. The drilling companies now want to open up competitive markets, delivering it as LNG (liquid natural gas) by tanker to China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. Under pressure from the corporate lobby, BC relaxed its Clean Energy Act to allow local LNG production -- leading at least one company, Encana, to tear up  its promise of zero emissions at Horn River. Cash-strapped Encana has since sold out to Enbridge for $220 million. Other $ billions from banks and speculators are at stake.

Filmmakers Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis follow Caleb to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where he learns of Maori battles with frackers there. In BC, the Tahltan people are also fighting to preserve their sacred headwaters. The film interviews Josh Fox, director of Oscar-winning Gasland; aboriginal lawyer Jack Woodward; Wade Davis, anthropologist and author of Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass; Maude Barlow, Tom Mulcair; and Janet Annesley of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

1 comment:

sophie said...

And we thought Canada was only known for its tarsands' land destruction. Of course, of course, so much fine land to destroy by fracking, too. We must prevent this!!