VANCOUVER, B.C.: People in over ten communities are coming together to mark Earth Day with a strong message against three proposed B.C. pipeline projects. United by a No Pipelines! No Tankers! message, the actions held primarily in B.C. range from kid-friendly parades and walks, to rallies and a celebration pledging to protect B.C. beaches.
“Houston-based Kinder Morgan’s recent announcement is out of touch with local opposition,” says Harjap Grewal, B.C. Regional Organizer of the Council of Canadians. “These Earth Day actions are one of many manifestations of opposition to this project which will increase Burrard Inlet oil tanker traffic, the potential for a pipeline spill and further expansion in the tar sands.” Kinder Morgan recently confirmed plans to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline to meet the company’s goal of carrying 850,000 barrels of oil a day, up from the current 300,000.
Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion plans are one of the three B.C. projects identified in a call to action Earth Day organizers are responding to. The call to action which also encourages actions opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the construction of Pacific Trails Pipeline by Apache, Encana and EOG Resources, is endorsed by a diverse group of twelve organizations.
There are growing concerns with the Pacific Trails pipeline project while opposition from Wet'suwet'en territories remains firm.
“The Lhe Lin Liyin deny all pipeline companies access to Wet'suwet'en Territories in solidarity with the global and local movements to stop the pollution and health impacts from tar sands and hydro fracturing exploitation,” says Mel Bazil from the Grassroots Wet'suwet'en. “We stand with the movements to reverse climate change.” The Pacific Trails project will help drive the expansion of shale gas development using fracking, a controversial technique that poses risks of water contamination and depletion that will contribute significantly greenhouse gas emissions.
All three pipelines, explains Bazil, undermine Indigenous law and values. “These projects represent a blatant disregard for Human Rights and Aboriginal Rights and Title. It is in all communities’ best interest to begin to acknowledge and abide by Indigenous Peoples’ Laws and Natural Laws of the Land and begin to focus on building a way of living that is truly sustainable for all of biodiversity.”
“The Enbridge Northern Gateway project is fiercely opposed along the pipeline route and in coastal communities,” adds Gwyn Frayne with the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians who helped mobilize thousands of people when the Joint Review Panel arrived in Comox on last month. “The pipeline has become a flashpoint for opposition to the unsustainable expansion of the tar sands.”
Organizers in Victoria have themed the annual Earth Walk to support actions happening around the country. “We also march in solidarity with all who would like to keep BC free of the Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat. We want system change, not climate change,” says Bharat Chandramouli with the Victoria Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
The No Pipelines! No Tankers! April 22 Earth Day call to action is endorsed by the Council of Canadians alongside Amnesty International, BC Government and Service Employees' Union, Canadian Wolf Coalition, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Check Your Head: The Youth Global Education Network, Greenpeace Canada, Hospital Employees’ Union, Indigenous Environmental Network, Leadnow.ca, Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre, Tanker free BC.