PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. - Coastal First Nations are leaving the Northern Gateway review process, saying they've run out of funds and patience.
Executive director Art Sterritt has informed the panel that the group representing nine aboriginal bands from along the B.C. coast and Haida Gwaii has spent more than three times the amount of funding allotted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency four years ago.
Sterritt says the approximately $280,000 they had cannot compare to the $250 million Enbridge (TSX:ENB) is spending on a team of lawyers.
Sterritt says Coastal First Nations are also dismayed at the process itself, and the fact that the federal government has now changed the laws so that the decision on whether the pipeline can go ahead is no longer up to the panel, but the Conservative government.
He told the panel answers are not forthcoming, and the review has simply become "gamesmanship."
Panel chairwoman Sheila Leggett encouraged Coastal First Nations to continue to monitor the hearings, and invited them to resume participation in the future, if possible.