Canada's Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipeline Remains Blocked by First Nations Opposition

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jamie Henn: 415-890-3350, jamie@350.org
Jasmine Thomas: 250-944-0545

Canada's Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipeline Remains Blocked by First Nations Opposition

Vancouver, British Columbia - Although Canadian premier Stephen Harper is soon expected to grant federal approval for the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline, his government is all but powerless to move the project forward because of strong resistance from First Nations and British Columbians.

“This pipeline is never going to be built—First Nations leaders and coastal protectors will see to that,” says 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. “With KXL dead in the water for the moment, it's no wonder big oil companies are bailing on their tar sands investments, and that money is starting to flow toward sun and wind.”

The combination of public opposition, political vulnerability, and threats of First Nations legal challenges has even left financial analysts and the U.S. State Department with doubts that the pipeline will be built, saying that the project is “controversial” and “encountering significant opposition.”

“This project is doomed,” says Jasmine Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, which has vocally opposed the pipeline since they found out about the project. “My community and many others will uphold our Aboriginal rights and title to the fullest extent possible. And thousands of people in this province and country have committed to hold the wall with us.”

Saik’uz is affiliated with the Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA), an alliance of First Nations which took the lead in developing the Save the Fraser Declaration. The Declaration has over 130 First Nations signatories, all of whom are banning tar sands and tanker projects through their territories. These First Nations also have the support of the majority of people in British Columbia, with only 29% of people in the province saying that they want Northern Gateway approved.

In addition to supporting communities fighting pipeline projects, 350.org is also gearing up to support the 5th Annual Healing Walk taking place in Northern Alberta. The walk is organized by numerous First Nations who have invited people to see what is happening at the source of these pipelines. Additionally, several of these Nations have brought federal and provincial governments to court for violating Constitutionally recognized Aboriginal Treaty Rights.

This past weekend, over 1,000 people responded to the call from Indigenous communities to march in Vancouver as a commitment to protect the land and water from tar sands oil and pipelines. Additionally, 350.org is working with a broad coalition of groups to organize the largest climate march in history in New York City this September in the lead up to the Ban Ki-moon Climate Summit. President Obama is expected to address the summit and announce more steps the US will take to address the climate crisis.

###

350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.

Share This Article