Climate friendly leaders don’t build dirty tar sands pipelines. But this summer the Trudeau government showed once again that building the Trans Mountain Pipelines Expansion (TMX) is exactly what it intends on doing – and they are champing at the bit to get shovels in the ground.
However, it has been a year since the government of Canada purchased the existing Kinder Morgan Pipeline and TMX project for 4.5 billion taxpayer dollars. Yet, flawed approvals, legal cases and public opposition and protest continue to stand in their way - and for good reason:
→ In August 2018 the Federal Court of Appeals “quashed” the TMX project; citing a faulty National Energy Board (NEB) review process which had not considered the marine impact of increased tanker traffic, and the government's failure to fulfil its constitutional requirement to “meaningfully consult” with Indigenous nations. This ruling led to another 22-week long sham review process by the NEB – and to the surprise of no one, the TMX pipeline was re-approved in June 2019.
→ Despite claiming that building the TMX pipeline will create jobs and a prosperous future for people along the route, the original application that Kinder Morgan made to the NEB for the project claimed that only 90 permanent jobs would be created.
→ The government of Canada has already spent $4.5 billion on this disastrous project – and the expansion is expected to cost another $15 billion more. Just think how much better these funds could be spent – on housing, healthcare, education, and more.
→ The TMX would triple crude volumes moving from Alberta to the British Columbia (B.C.) coast and beyond – posing a serious threat to the Salish Sea and the fishing and tourism economy that it supports, as well as to the dwindling population of the Southern Resident Orca whales.
→ Over its lifetime, the TMX pipeline will have a greenhouse gas footprint equivalent to over 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide when considering extraction, transportation, processing and burning in other nations after export. The United Nation International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in 2018 giving humanity 12 years to drastically cut emissions or face catastrophic and likely irreversible consequences. Another 120 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere is not what the planet needs.
The list of reasons to oppose the TMX pipeline could go on and on, but what is most important is that whatever the reason, people across BC, Alberta and Canada came together to build a broad and consistent movement. This pipeline is already years behind schedule – and continuing this movement bulduing is the only chance we have at stopping this catastrophic project.
Want more proof that building an anti-pipeline movement has those upholding the climate-destroying status-quo shaking in their boots? Look to the United States where laws making it a crime to protest pipelines have been passed in seven states – and have been put forward in many more. As of September 1, someone in Texas can face up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine for “impairing or interrupting” pipeline construction. These new laws, which are in violation of civil and democratic rights, are intended to send a chill through the climate justice movement and discourage people from protesting.
“Drums Not Drills!” Activists Return to Burnaby Mountain
On August 5, over 150 people gathered at the Westridge Marine Terminal for “Drums Not Drills!” an action to protest Trans Mountain’s intention to begin drilling a 2.6km tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. The NEB had given the green light to the Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (which is owned by the government of Canada) to begin construction work at the terminal that day – so the presence of anti-pipeline activists was critical.
“Drums Not Drills!” was organized by the Vancouver area grassroots climate organizations Mountain Protectors, BROKE and Climate Convergence. Soon after the action began on the hill overlooking the terminal, the air was electric with speeches, drumming and people discussing the next steps in the ongoing campaign to end the TMX once and for all. Speakers during the program, which was emceed by Cedar George-Parker from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, included Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation; Lesley Durrant, a Burnaby mountain resident with BROKE; Alison Bodine, from Climate Convergence and Svend Robinson, a former NDP-MP who is running in the Burnaby North riding for the NDP in the upcoming Federal election, among others. These speakers delivered a powerful and united message to Trans Mountain and the Federal government – this dirty tar sands pipeline will not be built!
Returning to Westridge Terminal at the foot of Burnaby Mountain was the next step in building an ongoing campaign against TMX that can stop the pipeline construction right in its tracks.
From September 20-27, 2019, here in BC, across Canada and around the world, there is another important opportunity to be out on the streets fighting for our future and showing the power of united action.
Build Our Future – Not a Pipeline! Youth in Action!
This week of Global Climate Strike actions has been called by the Fridays for Future movement that was begun by 15-year-old Swedish climate justice activist Greta Thunberg. One year ago, she started a one-person climate strike in front of the Swedish Parliament, and today she leads protests of tens of thousands around the world. During the last Global Climate Strike on May 24 there were protests in more than 1600 towns and cities in over 125 countries.
In Vancouver, the high school student-organized group “Sustainabiliteens” has called for the Global Climate Strike action to begin at 1 pm at the Vancouver City Hall near Cambie and 12th Street on Friday, March 27. For more information on this action, and other actions across Canada visit: www.climatestrikecanada.org
Here in BC and Vancouver, it is urgent that we come together to support the students and participate in the September 27 action. Whether it is the Federal government spending $15 billion on the TMX expansion, or the Provincial government giving $5.35 billion in financial incentives to LNG Canada for its massive natural gas pipeline, these climate-destroying projects are not only bringing humanity closer to climate catastrophe, they are stealing money from the housing, healthcare and education that youth and students especially need.
Climate Convergence has joined with other Metro Vancouver groups and the Sustainabiliteens to build the September 27 Climate Strike action as big as possible. For more information on how to get involved in this vital effort and on upcoming meetings, events and outreach actions visit www.climateconvergence.ca!
Follow Alison Twitter: @Alisoncolette
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