Kinder Morgan is wanting to expand the current Trans Mountain pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to Burnaby. It is said that this $5.4 billion project will triple its current capacity of crude oil to 890,000 barrels a day. Once in Burnaby, the oil will then be loaded onto tankers and transported from the Burrard Inlet to foreign markets.
There is a lot of opposition to this project. Many First Nations including Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish are openly against it along with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Burnaby Major Derek Corrigan, and 70% of Burnaby residents. In the fall of 2015, there were months-long protests on Burnaby Mountain where over 100 people were arrested for standing in opposition to the project.Despite this opposition, the federal government approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project last November and now the provincial government has also given their approval. So, what does this approval mean?
Expanding the pipeline to carry triple the load of crude oil will ultimately result in triple the amount of water needed to acquire the oil, triple the amount of pollution of water and air, triple the contribution to climate change and triple the catastrophe if and when there is an oil spill. Having the federal and the provincial government approve this project is an indicator of how both governments are choosing to prioritize industry and apparent economic gain over the environment, climate change, and most importantly, over First Nations’ rights.
However, despite both government’s approvals, the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish Nations are have announced that they are taking legal action against the federal government’s approval. In a CBC article, Squamish Chief Ian Campbell is quoted as saying that, “We talk about an era of reconciliation but we do not see the actions that go with that” and goes on to state that “The old status quo will no longer be acceptable — that of a colonial imposition to ride roughshod over Aboriginal rights and title within our own lands and waters.”
For more information and to find out what you can do to stand in solidarity with these nations, please visit the Sacred Trust’s website.
By Meggan Jacobson