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Deal reached in northern British Columbia pipeline impasse

Photo shared on social media by an anti-LNG pipeline group on social media shows multiple officers in the area. RCMP have not shared any details. (Unist'ot'en Camp/Facebook)

A tense situation that led to the arrests of 14 people near Smithers on Monday has been temporarily resolved

The tentative deal was made after a day of meetings with the RCMP

A court order was issued earlier this week granted contractors access to the area

SMITHERS – Hereditary chiefs of the Wetsuweten First Nation say they’ve reached a deal with RCMP to allow a natural gas company access across a bridge that had been blocked in their territory.

The agreement was reached today at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a day after the chiefs announced a tentative deal would see members of the First Nation observe a court injunction by allowing Coastal GasLink workers and contractors access to a work site where a natural gas pipeline is planned.

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The chiefs said the meeting today was expected to discuss a Unist’ot’en healing camp, which they wanted left undisturbed.

They also wanted to discuss whether the camp could retain a gate at the site, which residents say is vital to their safety.

The RCMP arrested 14 people on Monday when they enforced the injunction.

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They also dismantled a nearby checkpoint erected by members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who say the company does not have authority to work on their territory without consent from the nation’s hereditary clan chiefs.

TransCanada Corp. says it has signed benefit-sharing agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.

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The Coastal GasLink pipeline would run through the Wet’suwet’en territory to LNG Canada’s $40 billion export terminal in Kitimat, B.C.

The interim injunction is meant to prevent anyone from impeding the company’s work until the defendants, which include members of the Unist’ot’en camp, file a response.