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UPDATE: Council marches against Trans Mountain Pipeline

Grewal in march against Trans Mountain Pipeline. Credit: Media Co-op

Grewal in march against Trans Mountain Pipeline. Credit: Media Co-op

Yesterday, the Council of Canadians joined Streams of Justice, Stop the Pave, Tanker Free BC and the Wilderness Committee to host a rally opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the presence of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet, and more broadly the social and ecological impacts of the tar sands.

As noted in a recent Tyee article, Trans Mountain Pipeline operates a 300,000 barrel per day pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia and Washington State. They are requesting permission from the National Energy Board to ship more tar sands bitumen to the Westbridge tanker terminal in Burrard Inlet and away from existing land-based refineries in B.C. and Washington. If approved, this would immediately expand crude capacity through Vancouver from 52,000 bpd to 79,000 bpd.

Vancouver Media Coop reports, “In Northern Burnaby, a plethora of social justice groups, environmental groups, and concerned citizens gathered for an action to protest the tar sand’s pipeline that runs through their backyard to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Terminal on the banks of the beautiful Burrard Inlet. The demonstration was called in solidarity with the folks protesting (against the Keystone XL pipleine) in Washington DC. …Before the initial rally transitioned to a march to the Kinder Morgan site, Harjap Grewal from the Council of Canadians gave the crowd something to consider. ‘The governments and corporations aren’t really listening. How many people here believe that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper is going to do something credible about the tar sands? We can’t rely on the government or these representatives of ours to make change. People are going to have to do it themselves.'”

In our media release, Grewal stated, “Many people have been organizing around the province against the construction of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline that would carry tar sands to a port in Kitimat, but fewer people are aware of Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of their Trans Mountain pipeline. The expansion alone would deliver more barrels per day than the total capacity of the Enbridge’s pipeline. If we want to stop the destruction of the tar sands we need to stop Northern Gateway, Keystone XL and the Trans Mountain pipelines. We will continue to organize against (the Trans Mountain Pipeline) in the spirit of protests happening across the continent and in solidarity with Indigenous communities from Ft. Chipewyan to Wet’Suwet’en and Coast Salish Territories that are protecting their lands from one of the world most destructive industrial projects. As local residents become aware of both the impact of the tar sands and that crude is being shipped through, and literally under, their backyard we imagine the opposition will grow.”

As noted in the Vancouver Media Coop report, Ben West stated at the rally,”Right now, two times a week, leaving from right from over there [Burrard inlet] there is two tankers carrying about three times as much [oil] as was spilled by the Exxon valdez putting our Vancouver harbour at risk. …Kinder Morgan, the company who runs that terminal over there, has very quietly been trying to actually expand the amount of oil that’s passing through there: in fact, they said they want to go up to 700,000 barrels a week, coming through that pipeline, which would drastically increase, not only the threat to our coastline, but it would also increase the amount that we are contributing to climate change. In the fight against climate change in British Columbia, we are standing blocks away from ground zero.”

As the march arrived at the Kinder Morgan site, the article notes, “the organizers linked up to a fellow named Mike (Mercredi) from Fort Chipewyan (who spoke at the 2008 Council of Canadians annual general meeting in Edmonton). Fort Chip is an isolated community downstream from the Alberta tar sands. Via telephone to megaphone, Mike had this to share with the demonstrators: ‘This generation now is stepping up and making their voices heard and this is scaring them…we are ready to do what it takes. This is not going to end here. This is the start. This is the start of the people’s resistance.'”

“The demonstration concluded in Northern Burnaby next to the site of the 2007 Kindar Morgan pipeline breach, which saw crude oil spewed into the local neighbourhood.”

A 4-minute video of the rally :

The full article can be read at http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/demonstration-kinder-morgan-burnaby-bc-no-pipelines-no-tankers-no-freeways-no-tar-sands/8031. Our media release is at http://canadians.org/media/energy/2011/26-Aug-11.html. More on the pipeline in this Tyee report at http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/06/02/KinderMorganGrandPlan/.