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No deal -- yet

Jack Danylchuk
Northern News Services

Fort Good Hope (July 12/04) - The K'asho Got'ine Dene of Fort Good Hope aren't bound by a deal the Sahtu Dene Council signed last month with the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, Chief Ron Pierott said on Friday.

"We've adopted our own model for benefits," Pierott said. "We will look at pipeline ownership later."

The APG announced last week that Sahtu Dene Council grand chief Frank Andrew signed a business agreement that allows for full participation by the Sahtu communities.

Pierott said that Andrew did not have the authority to commit Fort Good Hope and was told in a conference call with community leaders and elders not to sign on with the Aboriginal Pipeline Group. The K'asho Got'ine Dene are proposing a revenue-sharing plan that they estimate will return $40 million a year to Mackenzie Valley communities affected by the pipeline.

Bob Reid, APG president, said that as far as he's concerned the agreement with the Sahtu Dene Council includes all the communities, despite the objections of Fort Good Hope.

"There is a place for them at the table and I believe they will come on when the time is right," Reid said.

According to the APG announcement, the Sahtu Dene Council becomes the third shareholder in the Aboriginal Pipeline Group along with the Inuvialuit Regional Corp. and Gwich'in Tribal Council.

The APG holds a one-third share of the pipeline and each aboriginal group has equal voting shares. Dividends will be shared according to the distance the pipeline travels through each territory. About 75 per cent of the proposed pipeline will pass through the Sahtu and Deh Cho, where the APG has been unable to reach an agreement with Dehcho First Nations.