Indigenous Rights vs. Industrial Development: The Battle Over Ksi Lisims Project

Feb 16, 2024 | Climate, Fisheries, Ksi Lisims LNG Project, LNG Development

The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, backed by local organizations, challenge the Ksi Lisims LNG project in British Columbia over environmental and Indigenous rights concerns. This conflict highlights a broader dialogue about sustainability, Indigenous consultation processes, and the future of energy projects amidst climate change.


In the heart of British Columbia, a burgeoning conflict over the Ksi Lisims LNG project signals a significant clash between industrial development and Indigenous rights, environmental preservation, and the fight against climate change. At the center of this storm are the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, who, backed by five B.C.-based organizations, are ready to challenge the project’s progression due to concerns over its environmental assessment process and the potential catastrophic impacts on the region’s delicate ecosystems, particularly its salmon populations. This dispute underscores a broader dialogue about sustainability, respect for Indigenous consultation processes, and the future of energy projects in a world grappling with climate change.

Indigenous Voices Rising: The Gitanyow’s Stand

The Gitanyow nation’s contention with the Ksi Lisims LNG project revolves around what they perceive as a fundamentally flawed environmental assessment process. Tara Marsden, the Wilp sustainability director for the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, has voiced that the consultation process was not only inadequate but biased. The Gitanyow leadership asserts they were brought into discussions too late, preventing them from providing meaningful input or conducting essential studies to assess the project’s impacts accurately. Their demands are clear: a pause in the environmental assessment process until comprehensive fishery genetic studies are conducted and a full picture of the project’s climate impacts can be understood.

Challenging Environmental and Climate Concerns

The concerns raised by the Gitanyow and supporting organizations shine a spotlight on several critical issues with the Ksi Lisims LNG project. The project’s approach to mitigating emissions through offsets, its failure to account for the emissions resulting from the burning of its fuels in receiving countries, and the existing oversupply in the LNG market are identified as areas needing urgent reassessment. These points of contention highlight a broader problem within energy project developments: the need for a holistic and transparent assessment of environmental and climate impacts.

A Call for Action and Reevaluation

The call to pause the environmental assessment process of the Ksi Lisims LNG project is not just about ensuring that the Gitanyow nation’s concerns are heard and addressed. It is a call for a broader reevaluation of how such projects are assessed, developed, and communicated, ensuring that environmental sustainability, respect for Indigenous rights, and the global fight against climate change are prioritized. The situation unfolding in northern B.C. is a testament to the growing demand for a shift in how energy projects are conceptualized, evaluated, and implemented in harmony with the planet and its inhabitants.

As the debate over the Ksi Lisims LNG project continues, it stands as a pivotal moment for all stakeholders involved. The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, supported by local organizations, are not only fighting for their right to meaningful consultation and the protection of their lands but also for the future of the planet. Their challenge against the project underscores the urgent need for a new paradigm in environmental assessment processes—one that genuinely considers the long-term ecological, cultural, and climate impacts. The outcome of this conflict could set a precedent for how environmental and Indigenous concerns are integrated into the planning and execution of major industrial projects in the years to come.

Read the original article by Sakchi Khandelwal on BNN website.