Trans Mountain is committed to working with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups in a spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility; and building and sustaining effective relationships based on mutual respect and trust to achieve respective business and community objectives.
Trans Mountain is engaging with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups in Alberta and British Columbia to provide comprehensive information about and seek feedback on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project) and to identify any anticipated impacts of the Project.
In Alberta, the existing pipeline and corridor crosses Treaty 6 territory, Treaty 8 territory and the Metis Nation of Alberta (Zone 4). In British Columbia, we cross numerous traditional territories and 15 Indian Reserves. Where the pipeline crosses Indian Reserves in British Columbia, we contribute to each First Nation via property taxes on the land occupied. We consider ourselves neighbours to these Aboriginal communities and we respect their unique interests in the land, their values and their culture.
This proposed expansion presents an opportunity to enhance existing relationships we have with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups while developing new discussions with additional communities as the engagement program progresses.
We look forward to enhancing existing relationships and developing new relationships.
Trans Mountain respects the Aboriginal and treaty rights, unique culture, diversity, languages and traditions of Aboriginal peoples. Trans Mountain acknowledges the importance of teaching, the significance of culture and language and the considerable traditional knowledge that has been passed on for generations. Nearly 450,000 First Nations and Métis people play an important role in the social, cultural and economic fabric of Alberta and British Columbia.
The purpose of the Aboriginal Engagement Program developed by Trans Mountain is to provide an open, transparent and inclusive process which seeks to exchange information in a respectful manner to address concerns shared by those who might have an interest in the Project or have Aboriginal interests potentially affected by the Project; to incorporate feedback into Project planning and execution; and, to provide Project benefits.
The Aboriginal Engagement Program is guided by the Kinder Morgan Aboriginal Relations Policy and the following principles:
- Build trust and respect – These values form the basis of Trans Mountain’s engagement with Aboriginal peoples.
- Ensure meaningful engagement – Conduct meaningful engagement with Aboriginal peoples who assert Aboriginal and treaty rights.
- Address legal requirements – Carry out Trans Mountain’s legal requirements as a regulated company under the NEB jurisdiction to engage with and mitigate, where necessary, where there are any Project impacts on the assertion of Aboriginal rights and title governing traditional and cultural use of the land and marine environment.
- Provide capacity funding – Provide funding, as appropriate, to Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups who have an interest in the Project and who wish to engage in the Aboriginal Engagement Program.
- Gather Aboriginal perspectives – Gather Aboriginal perspectives on rights and asserted rights, and identify issues and concerns relating to those rights and the Project.
- Assess Project impacts – In partnership with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups, potential impacts will be identified and assessed, and mitigation measures will be implemented where necessary.
- Reach understandings – Reach understandings or agreements that address potential infringement of Aboriginal rights affected by the project.
- Provide benefits – Provide procurement, employment, and workforce development opportunities to Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups affected by the Project, and consider Mutual Benefit Agreements (MBAs).
Trans Mountain is committed to continued listening, learning and working with Aboriginal people to ensure that knowledge and advice is fully considered and incorporated in the Project.
Participation in Field Studies
During the 2012 and 2013 field seasons, a number of environmental and engineering field studies took place for the proposed pipeline expansion. These programs took place throughout Alberta and British Columbia and involve the work of numerous teams in various disciplines and Trans Mountain is working with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal groups to seek their participation in many of these studies. Data received will enhance knowledge of the environment along the pipeline corridor and the results are used to guide Project planning. Additional studies will take place throughout 2014.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Studies: These studies are currently underway and involve the collection of traditional knowledge from potentially affected Aboriginal communities through their participation within five disciplines: vegetation, wildlife, aquatics, archaeology and wetlands. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) studies are incorporated into the biophysical studies of the Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (ESA), used to assess the potential effects of a project on the environment and to design appropriate mitigation. Trans Mountain recognizes that Aboriginal communities maintain close ties to the land and the importance of integrating relevant TEK into the ESA. TEK compliments Western scientific knowledge and provides information for Project planning.
Traditional Land Use Studies: These studies are currently underway with each potentially affected Aboriginal community based on interest, proximity and/or their assertion of traditional and cultural use of the land. Traditional Land Use (TLU) studies are undertaken on Crown land to provide information regarding the TLU activities that the participating Aboriginal community engages in, on the land. Information gathered is used to determine the potential effects the Project may have on the identified TLU area and the ability of the users to maintain the current traditional use of the environment; results are used to guide Project planning.
Traditional Marine Resource Use Studies: These studies are currently underway with each potentially affected Aboriginal marine community based on interest, proximity and/or their assertion of traditional and cultural use of coastal and international waters. There will be additional marine traffic to offload the product from the Project. Although regulation and authorization of marine transportation is not specifically within the jurisdiction of the NEB, the environmental and socio-economic effects of the increased marine traffic is considered by Trans Mountain within a geographic area extending between the Westridge Marine Terminal and a location known as “Buoy J” at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, covering the internationally established traffic corridors. This geographic area is also known as the Salish Sea and includes the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia
Traditional Marine Resource Use (TMRU) studies are undertaken to provide information regarding the TMRU activities that the participating Aboriginal community engages in, in the marine environment. Information gathered is used to determine the potential effects the Project may have on the identified TMRU area and the ability of the users to maintain the current traditional use of the environment; results are used to guide Project planning.
Read more about Trans Mountain field studies.