Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
"Water is Life" Say Chiefs
consultation with Kinder Morgan
epresentatives of communities fighting the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project in the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) gathered before the hearing in a demonstration of unity and resolve to have the Courts quash Canada's approval for the controversial project.
The FCA will hear the 15 consolidated challenges to the National Energy Board (NEB) recommendation of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Project and the Federal Cabinet approval of the proposal. The case has the potential to stop the pipeline by reversing Cabinet’s decision which is what happened with Enbridges’ Northern Gateway in Gitxa’alaa vs. Canada, heard by the FCA in early October 2015.
The Federal government’s decision relied extensively on a controversial and flawed NEB process, and adopted the NEB’s 157 conditions without change, while ignoring critical questions raised by its own ministerial panel. Its approach to First Nations consultation was also far from adequate – poorly organized and rushed, and not set-up to seek or obtain the consent of affected First Nations.
“The protection of our water is an issue that unites us all. This pipeline affects our drinking water as well as the source of much of our traditional foods. Our health and our way of life are threatened by Kinder Morgan. Water is life,” said Chief Lee Spahan, Coldwater Indian Band.
In this new case, there are 10 applicants, including 7 First Nations, the City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby, and environmental organizations. The Province of BC is also an intervener in the project.
Litigants highlighted a number of reasons they have rejected the proposed pipeline:
“We continue to have substantial concerns about this proposed pipeline and tanker project and its effects on the region. This is an issue that affects everyone, it’s great to see such a wide range of concerned communities coming together to ensure the safety of the inlet and everyone who lives in harms way,” said Chief Maureen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
“The federal government has not met its constitutional duties to First Nations and is forcing this pipeline through without consent. That is not what reconciliation looks like,” said Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish Nation.
Canada authorized this Project before adequately understanding Syilx Title and Rights, the effects of the proposed project on Upper Nicola/Syilx Territory, including our lands, waters, and resources, and the impacts it will have on the continued exercise of our Title and Rights. Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet made the premature decision to approve the Project.
"We are going to Court today to make sure that Syilx Title and Rights are properly recognized and respected in a meaningful way. As the Courts have already said, a premature authorization is not in anyone's best interest,” said Chief Harvey McLeod, Upper Nicola Band.
“The Species at Risk Act requires regulatory bodies to ensure that effects to species at risk are either mitigated or avoided when assessing project proposals. The NEB’s report on Kinder Morgan’s pipeline did not do that. These whales are already endangered, and this unlawful report further jeopardizes their survival,” added Misty MacDuffee, Biologist, Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
“Climate change is happening right now, from the forest fires that devastated BC to the hurricanes in the Atlantic and flooding in Bangladesh. Canada cannot be a climate leader while building new tar sands pipelines,” concluded Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society.