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Southwest BC Residents Organize Against Kinder Morgan Pipeline

by Maryann Abbs

Also posted by Maryann Abbs:

June 22, 2013

Over 40 people gathered today to share skills and discuss next steps in a
campaign against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The gathering, organized by the group PIPE UP, “had the intention of of bringing together people interested in participating in a more active campaign against Kinder Morgan”, said Sheila Muxlow, an organizer with PIPE UP.

The PIPE UP network is a year and a half old, and is made up of residents
of Southwestern BC who have come together out of concern about the safety,
environmental, and financial implications of shipping tar sands oil along
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to
Vancouver. Kinder Morgan wants to expand the 60 year old Trans Mountain
Pipeline and increase the flow to 850,000 barrels per day – more than the
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Alberta's tar sands are the single
largest source of greenhouse emissions in Canada.

The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, on the pipeline route, are vocal
opponents of the Kinder Morgan expansion. Allowing this project to go
forward undermines sovereignty and the right of communities to say no to
destructive projects. As well, over 130 First Nations chiefs have now
signed the Save the Fraser declaration to ban crude oil exports through
their traditional territories.

Visitors were welcomed to the territory by Larry Commodore, from the
Soowahlie First Nation. Workshops included peaceful direct action, consensus decision making, on-line organizing, engaging with the National Energy
Board Environmental Review Process and elected officials, going door to door and media and messaging.

Many of the participants in the gathering live close to the proposed
Kinder Morgan Pipeline.

“I came here because I have a direct interest in the Kinder Morgan
Pipeline – it passes through my backyard”, says Natalie Jones. “Investing
in infrastructure to get us locked into fossil fuels needs to stop. I
found today empowering. It's great to be equipped with tools to more
effectively engage and intervene in pipeline projects. I want to raise my
kids in this community, and I want it to be a healthy place. And, I don't
think it's possible with these pipelines, and increased dependence on
fossil fuels for our economy.”

Michael Hale, from the nearby Yarrow EcoVillage, hoped that the gathering
would build energy, and help people learn new approaches to organizing
against fossil fuel projects. The current Kinder Morgan pipeline crosses
the EcoVillage's organic farm, and if the pipeline were to go ahead, a
huge part of the farm would be dug up. Nearby wetlands, streams and
rivers are also threatened. “We need to change the paradigm of
destruction,” noted Hale.

PIPE-UP plans to continue to organize and build opposition to the Kinder
Morgan pipeline expansion.

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