Blueberry River seeks injunction to halt resource development on parts of its territory

The Blueberry River First Nation is seeking an B.C. Supreme Court injunction to restrict resource development in 10,000 square kilometres of its traditional territory.

Lawyers for the First Nation were in court on Monday to argue areas of the band's traditional territory are "perceived as being spoiled or unsafe" due to intense industrial activity, the Globe and Mail reports. 

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Despite pressing the province for years over concerns over the cumulative impacts of development, pace has not slowed, putting hunting, trapping and fishing rights guaranteed under Treaty 8 are under continued threat, lawyers argued.

With the injunction, Blueberry River is looking to "restrain the B.C. government from permitting oil and gas activities, logging and aggregate extraction or quarrying activities in critical areas that span 10,000 km2," the Globe reports.

The band's traditional territory covers roughly 38,000 square kilometres, with some 16,000 oil and gas wells in the territory, along with 28,000 kilometres of pipelines and another 45,000 kilometres of roads. More than 2,600 new wells and 1,500 kilometres of new pipelines have been approved since 2012, according to the Globe.

Lawyer Maegan Giltrow told the court Monday that 84 per cent of Blueberry River's traditional territory is within 500 metres of some type of development, the Globe reported.

The trial is set for five days with the province's response expected later this week.

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