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Aboriginal Pipeline Support at Risk, Canada Report Says

Many Canadian aboriginal groups aren’t satisfied with environmental safeguards on proposed energy projects such as pipelines, jeopardizing their support, according to a federal government report.

Canada should take steps to secure native support for energy projects, including measures to prevent oil spills and providing financing for aboriginal companies that want to participate in such projects, according to the report.

“Aboriginal Canadians understand the value of the proposed energy projects to their communities,” Douglas Eyford, appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March to advise on aboriginal issues, said in a report released in Vancouver today.

Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that the government has a duty to consult aboriginal groups on decisions that affect their traditional land and way of life.

Aboriginals “emphasize that environmental sustainability and prevention of significant environmental harm are necessary conditions for their support; conditions that many believe will not be met,” Eyford said in the report.

Some groups have opposed Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which would ship crude to the country’s west coast for sale to Asian markets. Federal regulators face a deadline of the end of the year to make their recommendation on the project.

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