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Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories- Vancouver Actvists took the Tar Sands fight to the gas pumps to bring attention to the Athabasca-Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) constitutional challenge against Shell's planned expansion of tar sands operations. Activists from grassroots enivironmental justice network, Rising Tide, took over three gas stations (12th & Clark, Hastings & Victoria, Main & 2nd) unfurling banners saying 'Stop Shell's Tar Sands Expansion' as well as handing out leaflets to the public highlighting the ACFN challange against Shell.
The action coincides with the convening of the Joint Review Panel to hear consitutional challenges against Shell Oil Canada's expansion of the Jackpine Mine tar Sands project.ACFN’s challenge outlines the government’s failure to uphold Treaty 8, and to force better protection of the resources needed to sustain rights protected under Treaty 8.
“We have repeatedly tried to engage with both the government and Shell to find better way to address our rights,” stated Chief Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “However, the government has not listened to us or made meaningful attempts to accommodate the ACFN in relation to the impacts of this and other tar sands projects. They have failed to accurately inform themselves of what our people truly require in order to protect our lands and rights.”
The proposed application would require the disturbance of 12,719 ha of land and destroy 21 kilometres of the Muskeg River, a culturally and ecologically significant river. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Jackpine expansion will total 2.36 Mt CO2e/year, representing an increase of 5.2% in oil sands emissions (based on 2009) or approximately 281,000 cars on the road. The mine expansion threatens to produce 100,000 more barrels of dirty crude per day, increasing the drive to build new pipelines like Enbridge Northern Gateway and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain to export the product.
Protesters at 12th Avenue and Clark were joined by Sid Tan who organized Vancouver based actions against Shell in previous decades. Shell is notorious for their complicity in human rights abuses, particularly in the Niger Delta where they have been implicated by human rights groups for abuses such as collaborating with the Nigeria's military rulers in the 1995 execution of nine leaders from the Ogani tribe of Southern Nigeria. They have been accused of torturing people and arbitrarily arresting and detaining people.
“This is about putting Shell on notice,” said Rising Tide member, Sheila Muxlow. “We are here showing soldidarity with the ACFN. This really is a David and Goliath battle and it's important that we support this front-line indigenous community as they take on one of the largest and historicaly violent oil companies in the world.”
Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories is a grassroots environmental justice group committed to fighting the root causes of climate change and the interconnected destruction of land, water, and air.
See VMC photographs of the action by Murray Bush - Flux Photo