COMMENTS: Sierra Club Prairie, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Local Cree Elder on Lower Athabasca Land Use Plan

Please see comments below from Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Alice Martin a Local Cree Elder from Ft. Chipewyan, and Sierra Club Prairie Energy Campaigner Dustin Johnson on the Mel Knight's release of the Lower Athabasca Land Use Plan. 

"Alberta is doing more of the same thing and expecting a different result. The provincial government consistently fails to meet even our basic expectations to protect air, land and water within the region and fails to meaningfully engage First Nations in land management decisions in accordance with our aboriginal and treaty rights. 

Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate the industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to help develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region."

Chief Allan Adam, ACFN

"I am speaking for many of the local grassroots people who are directly-impacted by industry and its decision-making process on our traditional territory.  The growth of industry has affected our way of life and it is becoming harder to go out on the land with all the land being parceled out to the Tar Sands developers.  Our whole life is affected - through the destruction of the land, to our way of life and our culture.  We as the first people of this land are not being recognized as an important sector of the public with the manner that we have been treated when it comes to participating in a meaningful-manner within the decision-making process for what happens to our land and to our lives.


I say that we are important and should be given the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way, which recognizes our traditions, our way of life, our knowledge of how we have lived and protected this land for thousands of years before contact.  I say that "We" are a vital part of society that need to be considered when society is talking about making decisions on our traditional territory that will affect our way of life in a negative manner.  We are going to be here long after you leave, after you destroy our land and our way of life, but we have persevered in the past and will persevere in the present to take us into the future.  All we are asking for is for is our right to be a part of the decision-making process.  What does this look like?  Ask us, the grassroots aboriginal people of this land, and we will be happy to lead you through this process!"

Alice Martin, Cree Elder, Fort Chipewyan

"The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) is not the cure-all framework that the Alberta government promised, but a disturbing plan that will alienate the needs of local people and result in the further toxification of the land, water and communities in the region. There is a glaring rejection of the numerous requests put forward by local people like clear protections and prioritizations on water use and protected areas for caribou habitat. Furthermore Indigenous communities need to be included in land-use "planning" at the early outset of the decision-making process in their own federally-negotiated treaty lands, not through last minute notices once the decisions have already been made.This failed attempt at meaningfully planning for the Lower Athabasca region highlights the need for more Federal government involvement to ensure the federal responsibilities with issues of water, species at risk, and treaty rights are respected.


Similarly concerning is the explicit mention in the LARP vision document which forecast bitumen production levels to increase to six million barrels per day! Given the reality of climate change and the existing health & environmental concerns from tar sands production it is outrageous to think fives times the production could be anywhere near sustainable. From the outset, this plan did not reflect the needs and values of the public in the 21st century, but rather exposes the government’s addiction to an outdated 20th-century mentality.


Sierra Club Prairie therefore recommends further involvement from the Federal Government to ensure they live up to the federal responsibilities affected by this plan, and the creation of a truly independent panel of scientists and Indigenous knowledge holders, independent of oil industry funding and policy ties, to be appointed to critique this plan and develop a real plan for the region based on the values and needs of local people not just big oil and industry."

Dustin Johnson, Energy Campaigner, Sierra Club Prairie 

For more information and interviews: 

  • Chief Allan Adam - 780-713-1220
  • Alice Martin - 780-334-2110
  • Dustin Johnson - 587-588-5890