Lheidli T'enneh Nation drops lawsuit against Enbridge

Enbridge lawsuit dropped

The Lheidli T'enneh Nation has backed away from its civil action against Enbridge over the October 2018 pipeline explosion and fire near the band's Shelley reserve.

A notice was filed July 19 at the Prince George courthouse saying the proceeding against Enbridge and its subsidiary, Westcoast Energy Inc., has been discontinued. 

It was filed by Dominic Frederick, who was the LTN Dayih at the time of the blast, and was done so "on his own behalf and on behalf of all members of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and Lheidli T'enneh First Nation."

LTN's current Dayih, Dolleen Logan, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The Citizen has also reached out to Enbridge for comment.

On Oct. 9, 2018, the system's 90-centimetre (36-inch) pipeline ruptured 500-700 metres from the reserve's northern boundary, shooting a massive fireball into the air that could be seen for kilometres around. 

About 100 band members evacuated as the blast shook homes and showered residents with debris. The subsequent fireball kicked out an intense heat and left some to wonder if a low-flying jet was passing by until they saw what had happened.

In February 2019, LTN filed a lawsuit against Enbridge and a bit more than a month later, Enbridge filed a response denying LTN's claims. 

Along with damages, LTN was seeking an order that Enbridge reroute the pipeline away from the reserve and territory. 

In March 2021, then LTN Dayih Clay Pountney said the band will press on with the lawsuit after attempts to reach an out-of-court settlement fell through. 

A month before, LTN, McLeod Lake Indian Band and Formula Capital Corporation announced a partnership to develop a natural gas liquid processing complex within the proposed Shas Ti-Dlezeh Industrial Park near Summit Lake, about 40 kilometres north of Prince George. 

A Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation found that the polyethylene tape coating applied to the pipe to protect it from corrosion deteriorated over time, allowing soil moisture to come into contact with the pipe surface and leading to corrosion and cracking and the subsequent rupture.

Westcoast Energy was later fined $40,000 for failing to maintain inspections of the pipeline prior to the blast.

More BC News