Anti-Pipeline Indigenous ‘Mass Mobilization’ Has Begun

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In what may become the ‘Standing Rock of the North’, thousands protest Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain Pipeline expansion, which would carry more toxic tar sands through First Nation territories

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Story Transcript

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: In what may become the Standing Rock of the North, a Canadian First Nation led rally of an estimated 8,000 people took place in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 10th in protest of the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan Pipeline, and organizers say that they are just getting started.

Kinder Morgan’s interprovincial pipeline transports highly polluting oil sands from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, nearby the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Reserve on the Burrard Inlet in north Vancouver, where it is then shipped to predominantly Asian markets. The federal government approved doubling of the Trans Mountain would mean an increase from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels transported per day. Oil sands, a tar like substance called bitumen, is notoriously difficult to clean up if spilled and is also considered to be the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet in terms of impact on the environment and as a driver of climate change.

Indigenous Canadian leaders recently announced an escalated mass mobilization to protects waters, land and climate from Kinder Morgan. The pipeline and tar sands directly impact First Nation communities from Alberta through to British Columbia. Many have questioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support for the pipeline, as experts say the oil sands project undermines Canada’s ability to meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: We brought in a national carbon reduction plan, a national emissions plan, that’s going to allow us to reach our climate goals, to reach our Paris commitments, but in order to do that part of moving forward is approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: Former head of NASA, scientist James Hansen, has written Canada’s tar sands will mean game over for the climate. The British Columbia provincial government recently announced a moratorium on tar sands shipment to the west coast.

DAVID SUZUKI: Canada is committed to an international agreement, and all I’m here to say is, “All right, Prime Minister, you signed on our behalf. Live up to it.” That means no pipelines, no fracking, no tar sands, no shipping in the oceans. We’ve got to get on with sunshine and wind.

CLAYTON THOMAS MULLER: In relation to Kinder Morgan, he made many promises that he would attach a climate test to the NEB process, the National Energy Board process, all of which he went against. You know, when he returned home after declaring at the Paris Climate Summit a couple of years back that Canada was back, months later he approved two massive tar sands pipeline, the Enbridge Line 3 and, of course, the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, thinking that they would have enough time to win back the hearts and minds of voters in British Columbia.

Well, that’s just not the case and B.C. has demonstrated that not just cities like Vancouver, Nanaimo or Burnaby, you know, dozens of First Nations, and of course, the B.C. government have all come out against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the seven fold tanker increase of tanker traffic coming into the city of Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet.

KATHLEEN MAITLAND-CARTER: Activists erected an indigenous led watch house on the exclusion zone surrounding the construction site, and more actions are planned for later this week against the proposed $7.4 billion pipeline.

This is Kathleen Maitland-Carter reporting for The Real News. Please stay tuned as we continue to follow this unfolding story.