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First Nations chiefs concerned with Ring of Fire process

Originally published in The Toronto Star

January 20, 2022

As Canada and Ontario discuss a potential agreement on how the regional assessment will be done in the Ring of Fire area, First Nations chiefs are calling to be equally consulted and included in the process.

As Canada and Ontario discuss a potential agreement on how the regional assessment will be done in the Ring of Fire area, First Nations chiefs are calling to be equally consulted and included in the process.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Neskantaga, Kashechewan and Eabametoong First Nations chiefs sent a joint letter to federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault.

According to the letter, the chiefs met virtually with Guilbeault on Jan. 17 and expressed concerns about the terms of reference (TOR) for the Regional Impact Assessment (RIA) in the carbon-rich peatlands known as the “Breathing Lands”.

“These are the world’s lungs, and rampant mining development could not only destroy this globally critical carbon sink but release its huge store of carbon and escalate climate change further into catastrophe,” reads the letter.

The chiefs said there needs to be an Indigenous-led investigation and decision-making process regarding the Breathing Lands and called Canada to restart “afresh” with Indigenous nations mutually and equally participating in developing, enforcing and leading the RIA.

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