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Coalition Responds to Canadian Government Plan to Nationalize the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project

Despite widespread opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would bring in 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day across Canada and out through the international Salish Sea waters in oil tankers, the Canadian government announced today that it will buy the pipeline in an attempt to guarantee its construction. By nationalizing this project, the Canadian government is taking on the risk of a massive construction project and pipeline that just this past weekend spilled oil.

In response to this announcement, coalition partners released the following statements: 

“In nationalizing this ecosystem-destroying pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ignored the threats to the Salish Sea, its marine species, and its 8 million people, including 29 Tribes and First Nations,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director at Friends of the Earth US. “Trudeau choose community- and climate-destroying tar sands oil over the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest’s people, climate and orcas. Shame on Prime Minister Trudeau for siding with Big Oil and taking on a pipeline which will likely bring about the extinction of the Northwest’s iconic killer whales and drive us further towards climate disruption.”

“This is not the energy future we want to pass on to our children,” said Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of Friends of the San Juans. “Canada’s purchase of this pipeline and vessel traffic expansion with a high risk of oil spills threaten the economies of British Columbia and Washington State that depend on our healthy coastal and marine ecosystems and maritime industries.” 

“This decision by the Canadian government prioritizes the oil industry above all others, including Washington’s vibrant fishing and community-based economies,” said Rebecca Ponzio, campaign director of Stand Up To Oil and Climate and Fossil Fuel program director at Washington Environmental Council. “Here in Washington, we will continue to support our Canadian partners to protect our shared water, climate, and communities.”

“This pipeline project would pose a critical threat to our coastal communities and climate, and it is outrageous that Justin Trudeau is ignoring the enormous public outcry in opposition to this project in order to prop up the tar sands industry,” said Sierra Club Pacific Northwest Campaign Representative Stephanie Hillman. “We stand with First Nations in continued opposition to this dirty, dangerous pipeline project.” 

“This multi-billion dollar bailout flies in the face of indigenous rights, climate sanity, and even basic economics, but it does not shake our movement’s resolve. Resistance on both sides of the border is growing every day. We will stop this pipeline with the power of the people.” – Kurtis Dengler, Mosquito Fleet

Joanna Schoettler at 350 Seattle says: “Who will benefit from the pipeline? Not the First Nations, the orcas, those who farm or fish, or tourism! It’s only good for your stakeholders pockets for a bit. Eventually it wouldn’t be good for you either. You’ll have blood on your hands for destroying the Salish Sea. Who is going to pay for the tragedies?” 

“As health professionals, we have grave concerns about the increased volume of tar sands oil this project would move through our region. Oil spills have toxic repercussions for human health, especially for coastal residents, communities who subsist on fish and shellfish, and cleanup workers. Crude oil exposure during spill and cleanup increases the risk of neurotoxicity, cancer, lung disease, loss of cognitive function, and endocrine disruption in humans. This is an unacceptable risk to our communities.” – Laura Skelton, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

“With a hostile Trump government on all issues related to climate change and the need to decrease our fossil fuel consumption, Americans have looked to Canada for environmental leadership in North America — and now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed us. The sonic impacts alone from the projected sevenfold increase in tanker traffic from this pipeline are enough to potentially wipe out Washington State’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales — in addition to guaranteed impacts on climate, treaty fishing rights, and Indigenous communities. This is a bad deal for the US, and a bad deal for Canadians.” – Matt Krogh, Extreme Oil Campaign Director, Stand.earth

“Woe, Canada. Buying out a risky and harmful project that is opposed by Canadians and Americans across the continent is a non-democratic leap backwards.” – Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice.

“That the government in Canada who campaigned on climate leadership is making a major investment in fossil fuel infrastructure is incompatible with a livable planet and would hurt the people of the Pacific Northwest. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion threatens the extinction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale and jeopardizes the thousands of local jobs that depend on clean coasts. It also would worsen the effects of global warming. The 2011 World Energy Outlook explained that by 2017 we must not invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to avoid irreversible global warming. It is now 2018 and the people in Washington state that supported the water protectors at Standing Rock are now mobilizing to stop the expansion of tar sands by stopping the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.” – Derek Hoshiko, Pacific Northwest Campaigner for Greenpeace USA

Summary of recent events:

  • January 24, 2012: An estimated 110,000 litres (692 barrels) of crude oil leaked from Kinder Morgan’s oil storage facility on Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford.
  • July 23, 2012: British Columbia outlines 5 conditions that must be met in order to consider heavy oil pipelines within its border, including a world-class marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments.
  • May 2016: Canadian National Energy Board recommends approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
  • November 2016: Canadian federal government affirms NEB approval and directs it to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the pipeline expansion; lawsuits immediately filed by Canadian First Nations and conservation groups.
  • January 30, 2018: British Columbia government announces restrictions on the amount of diluted bitumen that can be transported by pipeline or rail until the province can better understand the ability to mitigate spills.
  • April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan announces a halt to all but essential spending on the Transmountain project and sets May 31 deadline for deciding on the future of the pipeline.
  • May 27, 2018: Kinder Morgan facility near Kamloops spills oil causing the existing pipeline to shut down.

 

Throughout the pipeline’s decades-long existence, there have been numerous consequential and long-lasting spills. The project would result in a 700% increase in tanker traffic through the Salish Sea.

Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org

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