Jul 03, 2018
This is a developing story and may be updated...
As green groups and Indigenous leaders continue to raise alarm about the ecological and economic threats of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project--which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the government is taking over after protests led Kinder Morgan to halt construction--12 activists on Tuesday launched an aerial blockade at the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver to stop an oil tanker from leaving the pipeline's terminal.
\u201c12 people created a beautiful aerial blockade to stop a tanker from carrying tar sands oil from the #TransMountain pipeline terminal down the Pacific coast. Indigenous rights, clean water, a safe climate... What's your reason to stand with these climbers to #StopPipelines?\u201d— Greenpeace Canada (@Greenpeace Canada) 1530634611
Opponents of the expansion project are especially concerned that, if completed, it would trigger a nearly seven-fold increase in the number of tar sands tankers that depart from the company's terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia, increasing the risk of a major oil spill and degrading marine conditions along the "tanker superhighway."
Greenpeace Canada's Mary Lovell, a climber from Seattle, Washington, said in a statement: "We urgently need to protect water because this tanker superhighway threatens the entire coast down to California. We are taking action today to defend water, health, and the climate--and we aren't alone. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are standing with us."
\u201cWe're over 2 hours into our aerial blockade of a tar sands oil tanker as 7 climbers are suspended from the Ironworkers' Memorial Bridge in Vancouver.\nThis is just ONE reason we're taking action today.\nFOLLOW LIVE: https://t.co/NQtK2m8J8h #StopPipelines\u201d— Greenpeace Canada (@Greenpeace Canada) 1530635699
"I will remain the fierce opposition. It is in my blood to protect the water," declared Will George, one of the climbers and the leader of Kwekwecnewtxw. "Our Indigenous rights are being completely ignored, the safety of our water is being ignored, and most of all, my son's future is at stake. I will do whatever it takes to protect the water and my family and your family."
\u201cWatch House guardian Will George is protecting the Inlet from tar sands tankers \u270a\ud83c\udffd #ProtectTheInlet #NoPipelines #NoTankers https://t.co/zXNJWQYmJx\u201d— Protect The Inlet (@Protect The Inlet) 1530633979
Greenpeace Canada's Mike Hudema, another climber based in Vancouver, specifically called out Trudeau for ignoring the widespread protests and attempting to save the pipeline project. "Trudeau is standing on the wrong side of history. Climate leaders don't choose to buy pipelines," he said. "World leaders cannot be allowed to approve projects that violate the rights of Indigenous peoples."
Hudema tweeted his view from the bridge, adding, "It's always a good day to protect the things you love."
\u201cIt\u2019s always a good day to protect the things you love. \n\nToday with 11 of the most badass people I know we will ensure no oil tankers go through these waters today.\n\n@JustinTrudeau time to get on the right side of history. #Climate leaders don\u2019t buy pipelines.\n\n#cdnpoli #bcpoli\u201d— Mike Hudema (@Mike Hudema) 1530633767
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