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Environmental leaders from across Canada converge at ground zero for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Today environmental leaders from across Canada will converge at ground zero for the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers project, on the water in Burrard Inlet. Groups who were instrumental in defeating the Energy East pipeline proposal, those at the forefront of Kinder Morgan opposition, and others from across the country will be joined by representatives of the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative and will paddle past the Kinder Morgan marine terminal.

“The demise of the Energy East proposal last week demonstrates that strong, unified Indigenous, community and environmental opposition, combined with a weak economic case, can defeat tar sands pipeline projects,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law. “The same potent combination is present in the case of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project, and last week’s Energy East announcement should be a wake-up call for Kinder Morgan.”

The cancellation of Energy East has intensified the debate over Kinder Morgan in BC, particularly when it comes to climate change and economic considerations. With low oil prices and a market that is becoming less interested in fossil fuels, economists have repeatedly challenged Kinder Morgan’s claims about the economic benefits Trans Mountain would provide for BC and Canada.

“We are lending our voices of solidarity to the Tsleil-Waututh and other Indigenous nations, local governments, community and environmental groups opposing the Kinder Morgan project, because this is not about trading off one pipeline for another,” said Joanna Kerr, Executive Director at Greenpeace Canada. “This is about rethinking risky tar sands pipelines that aren’t needed at all.”

Recent analyses have emphasized that existing Canadian pipeline capacity is sufficient for existing and under construction tar sands production, and that further expansion is incompatible with Canada’s Paris climate commitments.

“It is time to let go of the persistent myth that Canada needs a pipeline to tidewater. From coast to coast to coast, people are recognizing that pipeline projects like Energy East and Kinder Morgan simply don’t fit into a global economy that is already shifting away from fossil fuels,” said Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director with Équiterre.

A group of BC First Nations, local groups and citizens has called on the federal government to conduct a climate review for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as was promised for Energy East.

“It is completely unfair to consider climate change in the review for one tar sands pipeline while ignoring it in another. As we’ve seen with Energy East, when the process forces a conversation about a project’s climate impacts, the case for building new tar sands pipelines is much, much weaker,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director at Environmental Defence.

Indigenous nations, environmental groups and municipal governments are in court this week to challenge the federal approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, citing failures in the review process and addressing several issues that appear to have contributed to the demise of Energy East.

The paddle in solidarity will depart this afternoon from Whey-ah-Wichen (Cates Park), crossing Burrard Inlet to Kinder Morgan's Westridge marine terminal. If the pipeline expansion proceeds and an oil tanker spill occurs in the surrounding waters, it will be disastrous for coastal communities and lead to the likely extinction of the 76 remaining southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea.

Spokespeople will be available for comment by phone until 12 p.m. and onsite before the paddle at Whey-ah-Wichen (Cates Park) from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m.


For more information, please contact:

Jessica Clogg | Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law

Sidney Ribaux | Executive Director, Équiterre

Tim Gray | Executive Director, Environmental Defence


Other groups in attendance will include: Sierra Club Canada, Ecology Action Centre, David Suzuki Foundation, and Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (CPAWS).