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Sipekne’katik Band Council wins court battle over Alton Gas project

We can’t wait to wave goodbye to Alton Gas forever! Picture taken on the banks of the Shubenacadie River. Photo credit: Stephen Brak 2016.

In January 2016 the Government of Nova Scotia approved the industrial permit allowing the Alton Gas project construction to start. Sipekne’katik appealed this decision on the grounds that the band had not been consulted adequately. When the government denied this appeal Sipekne’katik took the issue to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

Kukukwes.com reports that Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Hood “ruled the band was denied procedural fairness when the provincial government refused the band’s request to review and respond to reports prepared by the Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Environment.”

Justice Hood’s decision says that Sipekne’katik should have been given the opportunity it sought to “respond to any information that [the Minister] will be considering concerning the adequacy of consultation by the Crown with Sipekne’katik concerning the Alton project.”

Michelle Paul, a Mi’kmaq woman who has been fighting the Alton Gas project for years, says, “It’s the first time in the Atlantic that Duty to Consult has been considered by the courts for any project that has already claimed to have fulfilled the Duty to Consult. This gives rightsholders an opportunity to inform their consent for the project. We are confident that the remedy available in Treaty through the rightsholders will be served.”

With this new roadblock for Alton Gas, now is the time to be putting pressure on the issue and building community capacity to protect the land and water from this project’s many risks. Stay tuned for calls to action!

Follow along on Facebook to keep up with the ongoing resistance to Alton Gas. Read our past blogs about the Treaty Truckhouse, the Council’s appeal from January 2016, and the risks associated with the Alton Gas project.