August 17, 2013, thirty Indigenous Tribal Leaders, environmental
activists and residents of Lower Mainland and Interior communities met
at the Coquihalla Summit to talk about the transport of diluted bitumen
on the Trans Mountain pipeline route.
They gathered near the old toll booth site on
the Coquihalla highway and later examined nearby spill sites along the
pipeline. There was unanimity of opposition to Kinder Morgan’s plans to
continue shipments of this dangerous and toxic substance.
“It was an honour to
stand with the dedicated individuals who took the time to participate in
the Coquihalla Summit strategy session” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "The diversity of participants is an
undeniable reflection of the growing opposition to the Harper
government’s efforts to increase the production and transport of tar
sands heavy crude," said Phillip.
The event was organized by David Ellis, a former commercial fisherman
and fisheries planner, whose current work takes him to First Nations
communities throughout the Fraser watershed crisscrossed by the
pipeline. From his travels and research, Ellis has become alarmed about
the effects of bitumen spills on the environment and local communities.
I would like to thank David Ellis for his tenacity and diligent efforts
to expose the reality of the 'leaky garden hose' known as Kinder
Morgan's 60 year old Trans Mountain Pipeline,” said Phillip. Kinder
Morgan’s plans to increase their TransMountain pipeline to increase the
carrying capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.
“It is time for the Prime Minister of Canada, the National Energy Board
and the Province of BC to act now,” said Ellis. “They must close down
the aging Trans Mountain Pipeline and forbid all future heavy oil
through the Fraser watershed. If such action is not taken immediately, I
predict a major leak will occur this winter, and bring economic
catastrophe, to the western Canadian economy.”
"Insanity! Absolute insanity," declared Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
"Clearly, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is the oldest, most
rickety and subsequently the most dangerous pipeline in the Province."
"In light of ongoing reports and evidence of leaks, this pipeline needs
to be shut down and subjected to a thorough inspection."
“This pipeline has changed hands many times and millions have been made
each time, with government backing,” said Chief Art Adolph, Xaxli'p
(Fountain) and Chair of the Lillooet Tribal Council. “Proper management
is needed to protect the ecosystems we depend on. Currently we have
organized crime at the highest level between government and industry
advancing their own agenda—counter to court rulings. In our ancient
stories regarding proper management, sometimes Coyote dies when not
adhering to teachings and is brought back to life. Not so, if the Fraser
River dies after an oil spill.
“I’m here because the state of our waters and our way of life is being
compromised, said Chief Shelly Leech, T'it'q'et Tribal Chief (Lillooet).
“The fish keep our culture alive. We need to pull together and take a
stand against things like these pipelines that threaten our way of
life—the way of life for everyone.”
Area cleaned up after a pipeline leakage two
Chief Archie Patrick, Stellat'en First Nation, Nadleh Bun (Fraser Lake)
said: “Nadleh means ‘where salmon returns’ but we can't even drink from
that lake any more. We lived in harmony with it for many years. We have
to act on this pipeline issue.
Chief Garry John, Tsal'alh (Seton Lake) and Chair of the St'át'imc
Chiefs Council added: “Kinder Morgan just can't maintain their own pipe!
We need the wild foods, but will soon lose them if this continues.
“This area is vulnerable to leaks and spills and can cause irreversible
harm to the watersheds and wild salmon, a keystone species that unites
us all,” said Eddie Gardner, a member of the Skwah First Nation (Stolo).
“Having this pipeline continue to flow bitumen is already a risk too
high, let alone plans to double the pipeline through the existing ‘right
of way.’ We need a ‘right of way’ of clean water, land and air and
protection of renewable resources like our wild salmon for the benefit
of future generations.”
Bitumen does sink, and it can lead to long term leaching of toxins that
will threaten salmon and the long-term ecology of our waterways,” said
Stan Proboszcz, Fisheries Biologist with Watershed Watch. “We must give
greater economic value to ecosystems and the services they provide.”
David Luggi, Band Manager, Stellat'en First Nation, former Chief,
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council: “We spent 8 years fighting off Gateway,
it is time governments began to hear the people.”
David Ellis provides information at kiosk
set-up alongside the highway during the Chiefs tour.
“The Exxon Valdez oil spill taught us a harsh lesson of the devastating
affect to the ocean environment and on the daily lives and livelihood of
people, whose tattered lives are still uncertain today,” said Roy
Sakata, a former commercial salmon fisherman and resident of Ladner.
“That was 20 years ago. Increasing pipeline oil transportation with a
60-year-old system with its associated pipeline leaks and breakages and
increasing oil tanker traffic with the imminent potential of collisions
and groundings are not acceptable.”
“There is no net economic benefit for BC,” said Michael Hale, a
Chilliwack resident and member of the PIPE UP Network. “The tar sands
bitumen is all for export, not for BC’s needs. There are better
alternatives in green jobs, renewable energy and electric
transportation. We have to conserve our natural wealth for future
generations,” said Hale.
Mr. Rod Marining, retired manager, B.C. government streamside management
program and a founder of Greenpeace, spoke of environmental campaigns
that have changed the world. “Do not forget their have been many huge
victories, after our Greenpeace cruse to Amchitka, the U.S.Government
shut down all nuclear testing. We will shut down this pipeline!
Hope resident and member of the PIPE UP Network, Sharlene Harrison-Hinds
said: “Many Hope residents are concerned about protecting their water
these days.” She recalled the Viet Nam war protests. “Just like then, it
is ‘united we stand,’” Harrison-Hinds concluded.
For more information,
visit Pipe Up Network at www.pipe-up.net
David Ellis sent us two
photos (below) of Cathodic Protection Test Stations on the pipeline
risers "with coffee can, and with plastic spin-on head still intact, but
broken off probably by snowmobiles, it also has never been properly
replaced and maintained," he said.
"Why "coffee can
maintenance' shows Kinder maintenance of Cathodic Protection is now
failing, leading to the many pin hole leaks, and soon, a major break,"
Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice