Nestle and Kinder Morgan strike deal while Indigenous and community right to water ignored

On April 4, the Council of Canadians was in Hope, BC encouraging people to boycott Nestle which extracts water from Sto:lo territory without free, prior and informed consent! The Kinder Morgan 890,000 barrel per day tar sands pipeline would also go through this territory with community permission.

Switzerland-based Nestle (the bottled water company) has announced it has reached an agreement with Texas-based Kinder Morgan (the pipeline company).

The issue of contention between the two transnationals has been that Kinder Morgan's 890,000 barrel per day tar sands pipeline would have cut through Nestle's water-bottling property in Hope - on Sto:lo territory - in British Columbia where the transnational extracts 300 million litres of water each year from the Kawkawa Lake aquifer.

CBC reports, "It's not clear exactly when the agreement was made [but Nestle had been] looking for a very specific re-routing of the pipeline, among a couple of other things related to construction."

In a filing, Nestle had stated, "The drawings shown in your notice place the new and existing pipelines within 20 metres of Nestle's aquifer access point. ...Construction activities along the proposed detailed route are expected to cause unnecessary and harmful disturbances to the physical expression of the Hope Springs and could contaminate the high quality and highly-permeable groundwater aquifer and surface water Nestle stewards and relies upon for its operations."

Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter activist Suzy Coulter has highlighted, "We want the pipeline moved away from Chilliwack's schools, wetlands, fault lines, homes, and drinking water!" And our Chilliwack-based ally WaterWealth noted, "Chilliwack residents have been asking for the route to be moved off the aquifer we get our water from. Does Nestle have some pull that we don't?"

Furthermore, we continue to express our solidarity with the C’eletkwmx (Coldwater People) in British Columbia. Metro News has reported, "The First Nation raised its concerns about the proximity of the Trans Mountain route to its aquifer, upon which 90 per cent of the nearly 800 residents depend for drinking water."

On November 28, 2016, federal officials responded, “Coldwater could be significantly impacted from a pipeline spill as the community relies primarily on an aquifer crossed by the project for its drinking water. Coldwater members also rely on cultural foods for subsistence and are at greater risk for adverse effects from an oil spill.”

The next day, November 29, 2016, the Trudeau government approved the pipeline.

The Coldwater Indian Band, Sto:lo applicants, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Upper Nicola Band, the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation, and the Squamish Nation have all challenged Trudeau's approval of the Kinder Morgan in the Federal Court of Appeal. That ruling is expected any day.

Council of Canadians climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue recently noted, "Kinder Morgan likes to talk about the agreements it has with 43 First Nations, but suggesting this indicates consent is misleading. First of all, some of the agreements signed do not in fact constitute consent, rather are conditional agreements with no final decision made. The number of contracts drops to 30 when you look only at B.C. where around 100 First Nations are affected by the project."

To sign our Back off Trudeau, respect Indigenous rights and BC's no to Kinder Morgan petition, click here.

To take our boycott Nestle pledge, click here.

#StopKM #BoycottNestle