Chief Sock Serves Eviction Notice to SWN

2 10 2013

Protesters serve shale gas eviction notice



REXTON – Anti-shale gas protesters served notice of eviction Tuesday on the company exploring for natural gas deposits in the Rexton area, giving them until midnight to leave the province.

However, it remains to be seen what that means. As of early evening, SWN equipment was still sitting where it has been all week, barricaded by mostly native protesters inside a Rexton compound; Route 134 was still shut down by protesters and the RCMP, SWN had not been served with any documents and nothing much had changed since the day before.

“We have been compelled to act to save our water, land and animals from ruin,” Chief Arren Sock of the Elsipogtog First Nation said at the scene of the protest and encampment.

“Be it therefore resolved, at a duly convened council meeting in Elsipogtog, let it be known to all that we, as a chief and council of Elsipogtog are reclaiming all unoccupied reserve lands, and put it back in the trust of our people,” he said.

By “unoccupied reserve lands,” Sock said he is referring to Crown lands that are not occupied. Natives put that land in the trust of the Crown, he said, and now they are reclaiming their authority over it because it is being abused for the profit of private companies.

Private property owners have nothing to worry about, he said. But companies exploiting Crown lands for fish, wood, minerals or gas are being told to get out now.

His proclamation also calls on resource-based industries on Crown land to fix any damage before vacating the property.

Mounties patrol roadblock 
Protesters gather at Route 134 in Rexton near the site of an equipment storage facility of SWN Resources Tuesday, issuing a demand that all equipment be removed. PHOTO: GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

Sock was vague on how the activists planned to exert that ownership, saying it will become clear later.

Mi’kmaq warriors will escort SWN and their equipment to the border with the United States and bid them goodbye, Sock said at the site of the protest along Highway 134 near the intersection with Highway 11.

The protest site grew from a several dozen to a few hundred overnight and a few more protesters were arriving throughout the day Tuesday, most carrying tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment, suggesting they were in this for the long haul.

RCMP manned a roadblock on Route 134 on each side of the encampment, saying they were keeping the road closed for the safety of the protesters who chose this site because the SWN equipment compound is right beside it.

The protesters’ aim is to prevent the SWN equipment from coming out of the compound to carry out seismic testing along Route 11 in Kent County looking for deposits of natural gas.

SWN has not made any public pronouncements on the protests, which began before summer, took a hiatus during the summer months to coincide with a SWN shutdown before continuing this week as SWN started back to work on their testing program. The provincial Department of Energy did not respond Thursday to an interview request, though the department’s minister, Craig Leonard, told media at a Halifax conference that he expects the protesters to obey the law.

He said in a speech to the Maritimes Energy Association conference that the province only has about 30 natural gas wells producing 10 million cubic feet per day, but there might be eight trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in shale rock under the surface of the province.

SWN is conducting tests to better determine how much gas is there, but the protesters believe that if gas is found, then exploiting that gas is inevitable. They fear using hydro-fracking to extract the trapped gas, using a mix of water, chemicals and sand, will pollute the land and the water.

While the aboriginal voice was loudest at the reading of the proclamation Thursday, other groups showed up as well.

Mike McKinely of the environmental group Our Environment Our Choice said he was there to support the eviction notice.

“It’s a historic day,” he said.

Denise Melanson of Upriver Environment Watch said the group offers its full support to the eviction notice and to the First Nations people claiming unoccupied Crown lands.

Others spoke to the assembly as well, to show their commitment and support.

The chief said if their tactic doesn’t result in action, then he will consult with his people before putting into play Plan B, details of which he was not ready to discuss Thursday.

“As chief, I am with my people all the way, even if I have to risk being arrested myself,” Sock said.




One response

2 10 2013
Mohawk Workers - Kanata

Reblogged this on Rotinonshonni ónhwe – Tkanatáhere and commented:
Also DEVELOPING: 14 Caribbean nations sue European countries for slavery reparations
Lawsuits seek reparations from Britain, France, Netherlands for their roles in Atlantic slave trade

According to Martyn Day, a lawyer from the firm, the first step will be to seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and the Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans.

“I think they would undoubtedly want to try and see if this can be resolved amicably,” Day said of the Caribbean countries, speaking to The Associated Press in July. “But I think the reason they have hired us is that they want to show that they mean business.”

Caribbean countries Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda already have national commissions on reparations, and each country that does not have a commission has agreed to set one up. The 14 Caricom nations voted unanimously to wage the joint campaign, saying it would be more ambitious than any previous attempt.

In the United States, the idea of reparations has surfaced and disappeared numerous times.

After the end of the Civil War, about 400,000 acres of land along the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts was taken from former slave owners and set aside for freed slaves, who would each be granted a 40-acre plot of land to farm and make a living. It was the first attempt in the U.S. at reparations, and was reversed by President Andrew Johnson after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

Most recently in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama said he did not support reparations for the descendants of slaves, which put him at odds with the NAACP, The Urban League, the SCLC and about two dozen members of Congress who sponsored legislation to create a commission on slavery.

The House issued an apology for slavery in July 2008, and the Senate followed suit in 2009, but neither mentioned reparations.

Caribbean officials have not specified a monetary figure for the lawsuits, but Gonsalves and Verene Shepherd, chairwoman of the national reparations commission in Jamaica, both mentioned the fact that Britain at the time of emancipation in 1834 paid 20 million pounds – the equivalent of 200 billion pounds today – to British planters in the Caribbean.

“Our ancestors got nothing,” Shepherd said. “They got their freedom and they were told ‘Go develop yourselves.'”

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