Photo by Jason Hargrove (Flickr)

Amid the global pandemic, affairs surrounding the Wet'suwet'en pipeline continue to occur. However, this time Indigenous leaders are urging workers to cease construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline that runs through Northern BC and Wet'suwet'en territory in face of COVID-19. 

In a recent letter written by Indigenous leaders addressed to federal politicians, they express their concerns with this ongoing construction that poses the threat of increased transmission to Indigenous and non-indigenous communities in proximity. 

“We urge you to act swiftly to protect the public’s health from the heightened risks of COVID-19 transmission posed by ongoing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project,” states the letter. 

This continuation of this project is contrary to the warnings provided by Canadian health officials that urge workers to stay home for risk of endangering other individuals. However, this letter explains that these warnings are being ignored and that communities in the area will have to face the negative impacts of this project. This is viewed by Indigenous leaders as a disregard for the health and safety of people in these communities. 

“The threat is too great to northern communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, whose access to health care and necessary resources for containing COVID-19 are already limited.”

In response to this letter, a Coastal GasLink spokesperson states they are scaling back their work and taking precautions, but they are not ceasing operations.

This specific controversy is a part of bigger affairs involving Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs opposing the construction of this pipeline on their territory without their consent. Despite recent events, many supporters continue to stand with the Wet'suwet'en Chiefs.