Eagle Spirit Energy and Aquilini stated Monday they have stolen support from two First Nations bands in Burns Lake and Fraser Lake who had granted conditional support for the Enbridge route and have now switched allegiance.
The announcement was attended by at least 20 B.C. aboriginal chiefs. And the consortium claims to have support from the majority of First Nations along their proposed routes.
The announcement came days after First Nations leaders revealed Enbridge is offering to give natives a much bigger stake in its project. The overtures, they say, came from Jim Prentice, a former Conservative minister of aboriginal affairs who was hired to revive Enbridge’s stalled negotiations with First Nations.
Winning First Nations support is key to any pipeline proposal to ship oil originating from the Alberta oilsands to B.C. through traditional territories.
Enbridge faces opposition from some First Nations groups who say the company has not addressed long-standing territorial and legal concerns.