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Hereditary Chiefs sign agreement for Prince Rupert gas transmission

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World Pipelines,

TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) has announced that its Prince Rupert gas transmission project (PRGT) has signed a project agreement with 12 hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation.

Each of the chiefs represent a Wilp (house group) whose territory is affected by the project route. The agreement outlines the economic and employment benefits that will be provided with the project being in service.

"This agreement is the product of our engagement with the Gitxsan hereditary leadership. This comprehensive agreement provides long-term economic benefits, jobs, contracting opportunities and information sharing throughout the life of the project," said Tony Palmer, President of PRGT.

Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Luutkudziiwus (Gordon Sebastian), has explained the authority of hereditary chiefs in the Gitxsan Hereditary system: "The Supreme Court of Canada's 1997 Delgamuukw decision affirmed that each Gitxsan Wilp has jurisdiction over its Lax Yip (the Wilp's traditional territory) in accordance with the Ayookim Gitxsan (Gitxsan Law); each Wilp has the authority and power to make decisions as it sees fit for the good of the Wilp. As such, the 12 Hereditary Chiefs bargained hard with PRGT to ensure that the environment is protected, and that the agreement provides for long term benefits to each of the affected Wilp and to the broader Gitxsan Nation."

Hereditary Chief Geel (Catherine Blackstock) stated that the agreement is important to the economic health of northern British Columbia: "I envision this as a great opportunity for all Gitxsan and community people to revitalise employment in our economically depressed upper Skeena region."

The CAN$5 billion PRGT project will provide significant economic benefits for British Columbians, local and provincial governments, and Aboriginal communities as it supports the export of surplus natural gas to global markets.

The project will create thousands of short-term jobs directed at local residents, opportunities for local and Aboriginal businesses, millions of dollars in annual taxes to help support local services (such as schools, policing, fire protection, and waste management), along with billions of dollars in new investments.

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