Frog Lake has recently signed a letter of intent in support of the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group (WIPG) in the hopes of securing jobs and economic prosperity in the future.
A collection of First Nations communities across Alberta and British Columbia, the WIPG, is looking to buy a controlling stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which has been owned by the federal government since 2018.
Frog Lake’s signing includes them in a list of 66 other nations who are working with the WIPG.
In signing the letter along with council, Chief Greg Desjarlais says the support agreement will provide the community with jobs for the future, with the hope that income from the pipeline would help the Nation offset costs for it’s housing program, post-secondary education, and service delivery program.
“You could look at the numbers, and we haven’t drilled any wells in four years. We’ve been shutting up almost every well and reserve, and it affects our ability to offset our programming,” said Desjarlais.
“This agreement will help provide our community with opportunities for generations, while enabling Frog Lake Cree Nation to secure much needed own-source revenues to assist with pressing community needs during these trying times.”
Desjarlais has long voiced his support for Western Canada’s oil and gas sector, in particular the Enbridge Line 3 and Keystone XL pipelines. Frog Lake itself has been involved with the industry, going all the way back to the 1970s.
“Oil and gas has done so many great things for Frog Lake,” said Desjarlais.
The Nation’s current involvement in energy production include The Frog Lake Energy Resource Corporation, an oil and gas company that works in partnerships to extract crude oil, and has part ownership of Pimee Well Servicing.
The Nation’s involvement with the WIPG has been seen as an important step forward by its leaders — the collective had focused primarily on signing on communities along the existing Edmonton – Burnaby corridor, but Frog Lake sits over 200 kilometres east of Edmonton, closer to Saskatchewan than BC.
“The signing of this LOI with Frog Lake will help bridge the gaps between Alberta and British Columbia First Nations,” said WIPG chair and Whispering Pines-Clinton Chief Mike LeBourdais in a press release.
“It’s also signalling to the federal government that the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group is the natural choice for selling this world-class energy infrastructure.”
Next on WPIG’s agenda is to make a formal offer in Ottawa to purchase the TMX, which Desjarlais is hoping will happen within the next few months.