08/26/2015 03:07 EDT | Updated 08/26/2016 05:59 EDT

Lax Kw'alaams First Nations Band Asserts Right To Lelu Island, Slated For LNG plant

Members of the Lax Kw'alaams band are setting up tents on Lelu Island to protest the project.

LELU ISLAND, B.C. — Some members of a north coast First Nation are gathering on a small island near Prince Rupert, B.C., to protest plans for a liquefied natural gas project.

Members of the Lax Kw'alaams band are preparing to set up tents and carry out other activities on Lelu Island, which they claim as traditional Tsimshian territory.

They urge other members of the band to join them, in a protest that coincides with Pacific Northwest's launch of investigative work on an LNG plant proposed for the island.

Prince Rupert Port Authority spokesman Michael Gurney confirms Pacific Northwest wants to check geotechnical conditions, and expects work to continue until November.

The First Nation and SkeenaWild, a conservation initiative devoted to protecting the Skeena River, oppose any development on Lelu Island because of concern for eelgrass beds, which are vital for healthy marine environments.

SkeenaWild spokesman Greg Knox says Lelu is the worst place for an LNG plant, adding 18 LNG projects are proposed for the north coast but the Lelu Island site is the only one opposed by the environmental group. (CFTK)

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