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First Nation appeals drilling injunction

First Nation appeals drilling injunction                        Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak is pictured in a Nov. 28, 1991 file photo. The Canadian Press/Ron Poling

CALGARY - A First Nation is appealing a court injunction against a blockade of an energy company's drilling site in northern Alberta.

The Lubicon Lake Nation says the injunction granted to PennWest Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:PWT) last month gives the company unfettered access to an oil hydraulic fracturing site in the heart of its traditional territory.

In its appeal, the Lubicon Lake Nation says it will raise constitutional issues about aboriginal rights that it says the court failed to consider when making its order.

The First Nation says PennWest wanted a week-long injunction but the judge gave a six-month injunction on Dec. 16.

The protesters had been blocking an access road to PennWest's drilling site by Haig Lake since late November.

The group said the protest was peaceful and was intended to stop the company from fracking on traditional Lubicon territory.

The protesting band and the federal and provincial governments have been trying to work out a land claim deal since the 1980s. The province continued to issue energy leases in the area, including around Haig Lake.

The Lubicon Lake Nation claims more than $14 billion worth of oil and gas has been extracted from its territory without their consent.

“This is our land until the Government of Canada enters into an agreement with us,” Chief Bernard Ominayak said in a news release Monday.

“PennWest, the province of Alberta, and the courts cannot simply choose to ignore our inherent rights and assist industry at the expense of our land and our people.”

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