Protecting The Salish Sea

Panel discusses oil sands pipeline


What: Fairhaven College Panel Discussion

When: 3 pm Sat., Apr. 28

Where: Fairhaven College, WWU

Info: http://www.students

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

It’s unfolding in another country, yet also just a few miles from here.

In 2013, Texas-based Kinder Morgan applied to expand the pipeline system from a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion would include building a new pipeline, constructing 12 new pump stations, 19 new storage tanks and three new marine berths located at the Westridge Marine Terminal in the Burrard Inlet near Vancouver.

The expansion would mean a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic from the Westridge terminal, from around 60 oil tankers to more than 400 per year.
In November 2016 the federal government approved Kinder Morgan’s application, an approval the current NDP government in British Columbia has vowed to fight in the courts and through all available means. 

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would effectively triple the pipeline’s capacity. Most of the pipeline’s oil is destined for Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, where it would be loaded onto oil tankers that would navigate past Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and through the Juan de Fuca Strait before reaching open ocean.

The project has been fought with ferocity and tenacity by First Nations tribes on the coast and interior, including the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Sto:lo, Cold-water, Upper Nicola, and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc. All are challenging the pipeline through Canada’s courts and in the direct action of civil disobedience.

In recent weeks, more than 120 arrests have resulted from these confrontations with Kinder Morgan and their supporters.

On April 27, grassroots indigenous leaders from Tsleil-Waututh and Sepwemec tribal nations will travel to Lummi Nation and Bellingham to share their work to stop the Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“If built, the Trans Mountain expansion would mean that a pipeline bigger and riskier than Dakota Access is coming to our communities in the Salish Sea,” notes Chiara Rose, a familiar name in local activism and a representative of Students for the Salish Sea, an organization dedicated to protect and restore this unique watershed and ecosystem. “This project is ‘game over’ for the southern resident killer whales, and must be stopped to ensure the survival of the Salish Sea’s ecosystems.”

Studies of the proposed pipeline’s impacts show that the project will increase tanker traffic by 700 percent, increasing underwater noise disturbance, and risks a dramatic increase in the risk of a tar-sands spill in our waters.

If the resistance is successful in blocking the propose terminal in Burnaby, B.C., Kinder Morgan’s back-up plan is likely to transit its hundreds of thousands of barrels of corrosive tar-sands south of the border to ports at Cherry Point and refineries at March Point.

“Our organization believes communities in Northwest Washington must be ready to build a movement as big as the one we witnessed at Standing Rock to stop this alternative route,” Rose said.

Speakers include Ida Manuel of Tiny House Warriors from Neskonlith in Secwepemc territory, Canada. Cedar, Ocean, and Kayah George will share their story about the last few years of building a youth movement, reclaiming their language and stopping the Kinder Morgan Pipeline in its tracks for future generations. Lummi Chairman Jay Julius will detail reasons why Lummi Nation and its supporters must stand up to protect the Salish Sea against this threat.

Speakers hope to inspire students and tribal members to begin to build a local grassroots movement to respond to the risks of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline route.

Photos by Paul Anderson

The science is clear: to ensure a livable world, we must keep the vast majority of current oil, gas and coal reserves in the ground. Over the last 6 years, the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation have transported a series of totem poles across North America to communities threatened or impacted by fossil fuel projects. As the pole travels, it draws a line between dispersed but connected concerns, building an unprecedented alliance of tribal and non-tribal communities as they stand together to advocate for a sustainable relationship between humanity and the natural world. Check out the latest project at

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