This weekend, hundreds of activists will encircle a Kinder Morgan facility in British Columbia on the ground and on the water, while demanding that Canada break free from fossil fuels, listen to science, and transition to a 100 percent renewable energy.
A key step toward doing so, they'll say, would be rejecting Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
"For Canada to keep the promise we made in Paris and affirmed in New York, we need to stop building new fossil fuel projects and make a rapid shift to 100 percent renewable energy, and we need to do it fast. Facing this reality, one thing is crystal clear, you can't approve Kinder Morgan—or any new pipeline for that matter—and meet our climate obligations."
—Cam Fenton, 350.org
"The tone of the action is to send a clear message to our elected leaders...that there's no consent for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and there's an urgent need to leave fossil fuels in the ground to basically transition off fossil fuels to a clean-energy future," said Ruth Walmsley, a spokesperson with Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE), which is coordinating the weekend's action with Greenpeace and 350.org.
The demonstration comes ahead of the National Energy Board's May 20 deadline for a final recommendation on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, at which point the federal government will start its review of the project.
As Common Dreams has reported, the company is seeking to increase the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day from 300,000. According to the Vancouver Sun in January, the expansion could increase the number of tanker trips through the region from about 70 per year to more than 400, raising the prospect of major spills, as well as other social, economic, and environmental impacts.
Canada's National Post reported this week that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—apparently backtracking on campaign promises—"has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia a reality."
Yet Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project is vehemently opposed by First Nations communities, environmentalists, and nearby municipalities alike.
On Thursday, a group of First Nations leaders showed their solidarity with the Tsleil Waututh Nation's fight against pipeline expansion by giving speeches and presenting a gift of solar panels to be used in the construction of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation's new administration building.
And, citing the "unacceptable risk that a spill poses to our culture, identity and spirituality," Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative told the Kinder Morgan annual shareholders meeting in Houston, Texas this week: "We will do what it takes to stop it." Those efforts, the National Observer reported Wednesday, could include initiating an "onslaught of litigation" to block the project.
Indeed, a report released Tuesday by Stand (formerly Forest Ethics) and Tanker Free BC detailed the "Top 7 Reasons You Can't Trust Kinder Morgan," including chemical violations, spills, local opposition, and ties to the discredited company, Enron.
Read the full report below:
Furthermore, 350.org tar sands organizer Cam Fenton writes at the Huffington Post on Thursday, rubber-stamping the Trans Mountain project would hamstring Canada's climate goals.
"For Canada to keep the promise we made in Paris and affirmed in New York," Fenton argues, "we need to stop building new fossil fuel projects and make a rapid shift to 100 percent renewable energy, and we need to do it fast. Facing this reality, one thing is crystal clear, you can't approve Kinder Morgan—or any new pipeline for that matter—and meet our climate obligations."
But just this week, in Massachusetts, the pipeline corporation won a troubling victory when a Berkshire Superior Court judge said Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. may build a natural gas pipeline through the Otis State Forest—"despite a provision of the Massachusetts Constitution that mandates legislative approval for the disposition of state conservation land," as the Sandisfield Republican reported.
"We are very disappointed in the judge's ruling today and will consult with our attorneys and the office of the attorney general on next steps," a Mass Audubon spokesman told the paper on Monday. "We also implore the legislature to firmly and in no uncertain terms reject Kinder Morgan's Article 97 legislation. The battle to stop this pipeline is not over."