“Frack Clark’s House” says Anti-Fracking Activists in British Columbia

This morning, Rising Tide-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories and the Council of Canadians set up a 15-foot fracking rig on Premier Christy Clark’s lawn, announcing that “Because the Premier loves fracking, we figured we would bring it right to her!” says Jacquelyn Fraser, an activist with the group.

“We are just so worried about all the water that is being used and polluted in northeastern B.C. for fracking. We are sure Premier Clark is too and we’re sure she can share some of her own supply so that she can see the boom in the industry she keeps promoting,” says Fraser as ‘construction workers’ set up the rig behind her. “She may not end up with a lot of fresh water at the end, but at least she has some we could use right now.”

The group is referring to the impacts on the environment caused by hydraulic fracturing, a process through which water, sand, and chemicals are injected into the ground to fracture rock and release unconventional natural gas. Fracking is using up exorbitant amounts of water in northeastern B.C. and residents near fracking projects are increasingly concerned about the impacts it has on their water. As tons of freshwater are taken out of the water system, the process itself has been known to fail and contaminate drinking water.

Expansion of fracking has also been silently happening in the province, and groups like the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have even noted that provincial legislation is failing to protect all the water on which communities rely.  When the group was asked about why they decided to set up the rig on her property, one activist responded: “Well maybe you should speak to the people of Fort Chip and ask about how they feel about their land being messed up with tar sands,” alluding to the ongoing takeover of Indigenous lands by industry and government. “They have a pattern of not caring at all what people are actually saying,” she continued.

The premier has been championing Liquiefied Natural Gas on a recent North American tour to promote the industry. Soon after Christy Clark was re-elected in the Spring, Keith Shaeffer of The Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin claimed that “This was the single most important election to the energy landscape in all of North America in several years,” and noting that there were no less than ten proposals for Liquified Natural Gas terminals on the Pacific Coast which would be crucial for exporting the fracked gas. Promoting this fracking industry boom is alarming for local residents, such as David Diwell near Dawson Creek, who stated that the quality of his family’s water changed “overnight.”

There are over 23,419 operating fracking wells and another 4,000 which are abandoned in northeastern B.C., the region which is projected to produce about 22% of the continents gas by 2020. Studies from Cornell University have also been showing that fracking can be as dirty as coal, given the life cycle of carbon emissions and pollution. This means that B.C. would be unable to meet any previous greenhouse gas reduction targets if it fails to put a ban on new fracking proposals.

Christy Clark has been strongly encouraging the province’s future in the fossil fuel industry, and will be meeting with Alberta Premier Alison Redford on Tuesday to discuss the infamous Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal. The Northern Gateway Pipeline would follow much of the same route as the Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP), a fracking pipeline which is being opposed by Indigenous communities living along the route. Construction of the PTP would blaze a trail for Northern Gateway and other proposed pipelines, essentially making the region an “Energy Corridor.” Industry’s plans of an “Energy Corridor” have been opposed by all the hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and particularly be members of the Unist’ot’en who have built log cabins, traditional pit houses, and permaculture gardens along the route of the pipe.

As Christy Clark continues to promote oil, gas, and even numerous coal mine proposals in northern B.C., it is crucial that organizers on the ground show that there is visible opposition to these projects and that they are calling on industry and politicians respect communities when they say “No” to having these projects on their land.

Coal, Oil, Gas, None Shall Pass! Speech in Vancouver, Washington Against Fossil Fuel Exports


Rising Tide repelled off a bridge in Washington State to oppose an approved oil export terminal. Banner says, “Coal, Oil, Gas. None Shall Pass.”

Speech written by member of Rising Tide-Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories for action held in Vancouver, Washington as part of Summer Heat.

My name is Emil and I’m a member of Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories, also known as Vancouver BC. I was asked to be here today to speak about resistance to fossil fuel extraction and exportation happening in Canada. I want to start by acknowledging that Canada is an illegitimate colonial nation-state, imposed on land that is stolen from indigenous peoples. I’m not from Vancouver, I actually grew up here in Portland OR, and after moving north and hearing people regularly acknowledge the territories I did some research and learned that where we are right now is territory of the Multnomah people of the Upper Chinook. I also want to acknowledge that I am a settler speaking on their land today. I don’t want to speak on behalf of other people, so I will preface this by saying that my words reflect my own experiences and perspectives which have been inspired by those whose stories and knowledge I am honored to have learned from. My intention is to carry their messages in the best way I can.

When I moved to Canada one of the first things I learned is that much of BC is unceded territory. What this means is that there have never been any treaties between colonial governments and Indigenous Nations who have lived there and protected their territories for thousands of years. This makes Canada an illegal nation on unceded lands by their own colonial laws. I have also begun to see that Canada and the United States are imperial governments established by forces of violent genocide, and that they continuously refuse to recognize indigenous nations as independent sovereign nations, denying people their rights and responsibilities of their traditional homelands. These tactics of enforcing social and spiritual poverty on indigenous peoples are still used today in many forms including ecocide.  Ecocide means any extensive destruction of the natural environment or loss of ecosystems of a given territory to such an extent that the survival of the inhabitants of that territory is endangered. I refuse to recognize any government empowered by such oppression as legitimate. This is why I feel it is essential that the work I do as an environmental justice activist be grounded in decolonization. Supporting indigenous sovereignty and honoring the leadership of First Nations people in every aspect of my activism I see as the only honorable way to be fighting corporate power, it is not a choice, it is my responsibility as a settler to these lands.

North of here, the corporate government has intentions to build what they call a “carbon corridor” across BC. These plans include massive expansion of the “Natural” gas industry that has already caused devastating impacts from fracking on ecosystems and communities in Northeastern BC. If their plans go through, Shale gas from BC’s two current major shale gas zones—the Horn river and Montney Basins—could account for fully 22 percent of all of north american shale gas production by 2020. And BC government’s determination to get in on foreign trade profits has led them to invest billions of dollars into pipeline projects and liquefying terminals (called LNG) on the coast so that it can be shipped overseas and eventually burned into the atmosphere. There are a total of seven proposed pipelines from Bruderheim to Kitimat, and from Summit Lake to Kitimat. Three companies, Kinder Morgan, Pembina Pipelines, and Enbridge Inc. each propose dual pipelines to transport not only dirty bitumen, but also condensate as a diluent. Kinder Morgan also intends to build South to Vancouver BC and into Washington state. Pacific Trails Pipeline owned by 50% Apache and %50 Chevron,  seeks to transport Fracked shale Gas from the Horn River Basin. But pacific trails isn’t the only one, it seems every day many more oil and gas companies are racing to build their own pipelines in Northern BC. A total of six LNG project proposals for BC’s coast have received, or have submitted an application for, an export license.

And as if this wasn’t enough, on top of the Oil and Gas proposals we are trying to bring awareness to projects like the proposed Site C dam that BC Hydro wants to build on the Peace river. This publicly funded hydropower would be the largest dam in the province, and wouldn’t going to anyone’s homes or local businesses, it would instead be used to power the LNG processing terminals. It’s part of an effort to privatize bc hydro, making people pay more for energy they don’t need. Site C is an important site of resistance b/c it is needed for all this expansion to happen.

What many people are unaware of is that most of the proposed northern pipelines pass through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory where grassrootes resistance is stopping them as I speak. Two weeks ago I traveled North to visit the Unist’ot’en camp. This camp is not just a blockade, it is an example of indigenous resurgence, that the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation have built on their traditional territory in commitment to defend their land from mining, pipelines, and deforestation. When I arrived there I went through the free prior and informed consent protocol which requires all people ask permission to enter traditional lands. I follow this protocol in honor of the responsibilities the Unist’ot’en have to their families, and the lands and waters they have relationships with. They have successfully turned away industry surveyors from their lands, and will continue to do so. But resistance in the North needs to be supported and to grow order to stand strong against industry.

The BC corporate government has been trying to keep their plans to industrialize the North out of sight and out of mind of the major southern populous. The message I want to make is that the plans to industrialize by corporations are not isolated from each other, and therefore our resistance cannot afford to be isolated. For myself and my comrades living in urban Vancouver BC, building relationships of true reciprocity, rather than self-interest, with grassroots indigenous resistance like the Unist’ot’en camp and the Idle No More movement, as well as with non-indigenous allies around the region is some of the most important work we do. It is how we build a powerful alliance of resistance. I have chosen to come speak here today to ask that we can make these alliances stronger across colonial borders.

The impacts of these projects will not be isolated by these borders. Water contamination affects entire watersheds. The drainage basin of the Columbia river reaches past Valemount BC through Secwepemc territory, and as far south as Idaho and Utah. And lets not forget that our coastal communities share the same ocean waters. The tremendous threat that fossil fuel industry puts on fresh water should be a concern to everyone. It is not a question of if contamination accidents happen, it is a matter of when. When I was up North people were talking about plans to build not only oil and gas pipelines, but also water pipelines, because the US anticipates running out of clean water very soon. Water is a resource that we all have the responsibility to protect for generations to come because of its necessity to sustain all life.

There are examples across turtle island of what strong resistance and increased awareness has been able to prevent. Those fighting against oil and gas have been able to keep it out of their communities with bans, suspensions, and taking direct action.  In order to stop this industry from fracking with the NW we have to say firmly that lands & waters that sustain both our settler and indigenous communities are not theirs to drill, mine, deforest, or build pipelines and LNG terminals on… and when they try, we will put our feet down, hold physical space like we are doing right now, and say FRACK OFF!

More info:

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/167545540093333/?fref=ts

Portland Rising Tide post: http://portlandrisingtide.org/2013/07/climate-action-on-the-columbia/

News article and TV Coverage: http://www.koin.com/2013/07/28/anti-fuel-activists-rappel-off-i-5-bridge/

A Primer on TransCanada’s West-East Pipeline


Why do old pipes fail? And did you know that over 50% of hazardous-liquid pipeline failures occur in pipes that are over 44% years old?

Last week, TransCanada announced that it is moving ahead with its proposed Energy East pipeline which would carry oil from Alberta to Atlantic waters. If you are among those getting confused by all the different pipelines making headlines—Northern Gateway, Line 9, Kinder Morgan, etc.—this primer is for you!

What is TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline?

TransCanada wants to convert its natural gas pipeline, called the Eastern Mainline pipeline, which is currently operating at half capacity, into an oil pipeline which could carry up to 850,000 barrels per day. At the moment, the Eastern Mainline serves Quebec, but the company and some politicians want to extend it all the way to the Irving refinery in St. John, New Brunswick.

80% of the pipeline (between Saskatchewan and Quebec) already exists and it would need to be extended on either end: in the west to connect the pipe to Hardisty, Alberta; and in the east it would be extended to either Montreal, Quebec City, or St. John, NB—pending approvals and finalized shipping contracts. Why these three cities? All of them are port cities, which helps industry get the crude to international waters.

So much of the pipeline is already there, what’s the big deal?

To explain why this is a “big deal,” I’m going to direct folks to an article in InsideClimate News about a recent rupture in Exxon’s Pegasus Pipeline which spilled up to an estimated 7,000 barrels of bitumen in Mayflower, Arkansas.

“The Pegasus pipeline that ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of tar sands crude in Mayflower was 65 years old, and was initially built to carry thinner oil at lower pressure in the opposite direction than today.”

Why do old pipes fail? And did you know that over 50% of hazardous-liquid pipeline failures occur in pipes that are over 44% years old?

Like the Pegasus Pipeline, the Eastern Mainline Pipeline was built in the 1950s and would also carry a substance (oil) thicker than the material for which it was originally made. The article continues to cite a study by the National Petroleum Council for the U.S. Department of Energy which states that “pipelines operating outside of their design parameters such as those carrying commodities for which they were not initially designed, or high flow pipelines, are at the greatest risk of integrity issues in the future due to the nature of their operation.”

Converting an existing gas pipeline to an oil pipeline may mean less effort put into construction and materials, but it also means more risk for the many rivers and lakes along the route such as the Trout Lake Watershed which supplies drinking water for the City of North Bay.

Providing oil to Eastern Canada?

Politicians and right-wing pundits keep trying to convince us that they want to get tar sands to Eastern Canadians; however, there is reason to believe that pipeline is really meant to get tar sands to Atlantic ports so that the crude can be easily exported. Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver has said that the Energy East pipeline could deliver Canadian oil to large energy consumers and new markets. In the end, the oil will go to the highest bidders as shippers are looking to the US’s East Coast and Gulf Coast, Europe, India, and China—not just eastern Canada.

Additionally, there is not even enough refining capacity in eastern Canada to refine the bitumen, and there are no talks of new refineries being built or of old refineries getting the capital investments required to process the oil. This means that the crude would need to be exported to even get to refineries that could make the crude useful for people in the East. The claim that the Energy East Pipeline will service Eastern Canada is mere propaganda.

Reducing dependence on oil imports

We have also been hearing that this pipeline will help Canada reduce its dependence on oil imports, but transporting oil to eastern Canada is not the best strategy. Reducing dependence on all oil, in general, is! The Energy East pipeline is a massive $5.6 billion project, and the fossil fuel sector in Canada receives over a billion dollars in subsidies even though it is an industry that generates corporate revenue. These subsidies could be redistributed and put into projects that reduce emissions on oil and put less strain on the environment, communities, and the atmosphere. Investing in public mass transit, community-based renewable energy projects, and green building retrofits are some of the solutions to reducing dependence on oil imports and tar sands expansion.

Creating jobs

Creating a more sustainable and stable economy does not come from expanding the fossil fuel industry and associated pipeline systems. Studies have shown that investments in renewable energies and community-owned power generation produce more jobs and local revenue. Public and community ownership ensures that power generation is accountable to the public interest and contributes to decent job creation and reduced inequality. For more information, you can refer to Green, Decent, and Public. Fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks can instead be directed to public mass transit and green building retrofits that not only reduce reliance on fossil fuels and create jobs. This one solution alone prioritizes local jobs and more permanent jobs. Continue reading ‘A Primer on TransCanada’s West-East Pipeline’

Obama Didn’t Get the Memo: The Market Doesn’t Care About Climate Change

ImageObama just delivered his “state of the union” address and, at the very least, he has recognized that climate change is becoming more like a climate catastrophe with the 12 hottest years on record having come in the past 15, and with “heat waves, drought, wildfires, and floods… now more frequent and intense.” Recognizing there is a problem is the first step.

The problem has been his next step: to pursue solutions through the market. In his address, he stated, “I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change.” This indicates that Obama is willing to do what it takes to solve the climate crisis…as long as it doesn’t impact markets and profits.

Take another scenario. Let’s pretend that Obama’s speech read something like this:

I urge this Congress to pursue a strategy to solve the climate crisis that involves communities to control the resources–including land, water, and air–that impact them most. This means that we need to stop blasting off the top of mountains to dig up coal. It means that we need to stop hydraulic fracturing which pollutes groundwater supplies. And it means we need to stop enabling the expansion of the tar sands. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. This means that I am not going to approve the Keystone XL project which has faced clear opposition by those who are willing to get arrested at mass actions in the White House, office occupations, and at the point of destruction by running in front of, and chaining themselves to, machinery.

This would indicate that the president has been listening to those involved in the Tar Sands Blockade, those who have signed petitions and written letters, those who got arrested, and those who are mobilizing for the February 17th Forward on Climate action in DC. It would mean that he is putting the needs and demands of communities and people first. It would mean that he is prioritizing safety of the environment, and consequently the safety of water, land, and air.

Unfortunately, more attention is being given to those who can fully engage in the market. You know, those who can buy, sell, and trade. And those who have the greatest ability to buy, sell, and trade are big business and governments. Climate change has simply become one more venue for capital accumulation at the expense of people.

The Indigenous Environmental Network has rejected carbon markets, saying that “the potential threat of climate change into an opportunity for profit…is a new form of colonialism. It creates CO2lonialism.”

The reality is that CO2lonialism and CO2rporate exploitation has already been happening. Industries have already been profiting off of polluting. Fossil fuel industries continue to destroy the land, water, and air and they continue to ravage the land and resources of Indigenous communities, communities of colour, rural communities, and poor communities.

Some resources on carbon markets include the new documentary, the Carbon Rush which exposes some of the problems with purchasing “carbon credits,” which allow polluters to continue polluting. Their pollution is thus “offset” by companies that may plant trees, build dams, or creating waste-to-energy schemes. The reality is that this money goes to another company which finds loopholes and continues to pollute and exploit communities. In some cases, trees planted are harvested in large plantations, only to be burned again for energy; large mega-dams privatize water and displace entire communities and destroy food systems; and the “waste” that is being burned for energy is actually being done in energy-intensive incinerator plants that are also impoverishing millions of waste workers whose livelihood depend on sorting and recycling. Rising Tide North America’s publication Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: False Solutions to Climate Change goes into further detail about the fallacy of carbon markets and carbon trading, while also debunking the propaganda around Mega Dams, Incinerators, and Geoengineering.

Carbon markets have caused forced displacement, water privatization, job loss, and continued carbon emissions in the Global South. You can also check out the Story of Cap and Trade which is “a story of a system in crisis.” The ever-so-engaging narrator tells us how “we are trashing the planet” and “we’re trashing ourselves.” More importantly, she tells us why you just can’t solve a problem with the thinking that created it–the market!

But take away all the background reading, if you really want pure confusion, ask yourself this: If there is someone profiting off of polluters, then who is going to demand that carbon pollution stop?

Continue reading ‘Obama Didn’t Get the Memo: The Market Doesn’t Care About Climate Change’

Six People Arrested Inside “Public” Enbridge Hearings

vanFor immediate release: January 15, 2013
Six People Arrested Inside Enbridge Hearings
Group directly intervenes in proceedings and raises climate issues while condemning process

Video available upon request.

Vancouver, BC / Coast Salish Territories - This morning six people directly intervened in the Enbridge pipeline joint Environmental Assessment and Energy Board hearings and put climate change on the agenda . The group managed to make their way past police undetected and into the secured 4th floor of Vancouver’s Sheraton Wall Center.  Once inside they revealed shirts emblazoned with messages like “Stop The Pipelines” and proceeded to use police tape to cordon off the hearing area as a “climate crime scene”.

Climate change is killing thousands of people every year, primarily in developing countries and Indigenous communities that are the least responsible for creating this problem.  Despite this fact, the Joint Review Panel has instructed those participating in the hearings not to talk about climate change. This is a shockingly irresponsible move considering Canada’s tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. New fossil fuel pipelines are an irresponsible step in the wrong direction.” said Sean Devlin.

The impacts of climate change have been drawing global attention recently, between Hurricane Sandy, unprecedented deadly typhoons in the Philippines and previously unimaginable temperature records in Australia.  In this urgent context the JRP has designated climate change and the carbon emissions of Canada’s tarsands “outside of the panel’s mandate”,  a move that officially discourages intervenors from raising these critical issues during their oral statements.

Enbridge and the federal government are using their position of authority within this process to coerce members of the public into silence on these issues. The majority of First Nations and settler communities in the province oppose fossil fuel pipelines. We respect those who are voicing their opposition to the pipelines inside the hearings, but the hearing process is meaningless, especially since Harper has changed the law, giving his cabinet final say on pipeline projects.” Said Fiona De Balasi Brown.    Continue reading ‘Six People Arrested Inside “Public” Enbridge Hearings’

Enbridge Greeted With Vocal Opposition at BC Hearings

This week, the Joint Review Panel has been holding hearings in Victoria about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Just today, the Dogwood Initiative tweeted:

Final speaker of the day makes it official! 141 OPPOSED – in favour, ZERO at the #yyj #Enbridge #JRP hearings #bcpoli

Earlier in the week, several news outlets (written coverage here and TV coverage here) reported heavy police presence and “armed guards” at the hearings, where the public is supposed to be able to express their opinions on the pipeline which is planned to carry over 500,000 barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta to the Pacific Coast where it will be exported. Organizers with Social Coast organized events outside of the hearings and criticized the undemocratic nature of the hearings. “They are public hearings, are they not?” asked Eric Nordal of Social Coast. The format of the hearings taking place this month and next in Victoria, Vancouver, and Kelowna are having a different format than previous hearings on the same pipeline. People who have registered to speak are asked to speak to the panel one at a time, while others wait in a separate observation room. A few months ago, there were also updates as to what people were allowed to speak about, prohibiting people to address issues such as climate change.

The following is a release sent out by Rising Tide-Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. A long list of endorsers indicates the broad-based opposition to Enbridge, and other pipelines that would bring fossil fuels to the coast and across unceded Inidgenous territories.

Media Release-January 7th, 2013

Enbridge Panel to be Greeted with Loud Demonstration
Diverse list of grassroots groups demand consent not consultation

When the Enbridge pipeline joint Environmental Assessment and Energy Board hearings open in Vancouver on January 14th they will be greeted by community members determined to make their opposition heard on the streets and inside the hearing room. A large, noise demonstration will march through downtown Vancouver in full support of the self-determination of Indigenous communities, and their rights to say no to oil and gas pipelines across their territories.

The Harper government has gutted Canada’s already weak environmental laws, giving cabinet the final say on pipeline projects and making the Joint Review Panel hearings merely a public relations (consultation) exercise. This undemocratic change attempts to remove the rights of communities to say no to big oil corporations. Continue reading ‘Enbridge Greeted With Vocal Opposition at BC Hearings’

Rising Tide-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories Solidarity Statement with the People of Gaza

Image courtesy of Rising Tide North America

Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories opposes the recent attacks on the people of Gaza and the ongoing military occupation of Palestinian Territories.

Rising Tide has been working with Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island, opposing land grabs and resource exploitation by industries and state sanctioned institutions. One of those institutions has been, and continues to be, imperial militaries which destroy communities, the environment, and the climate.

We reject the Israeli military’s attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza, and the worldwide state powers which respond with complacency. We reject the state powers which support the Israeli military with monetary contributions and weapons such as drones and missiles. We reject Canada’s negotiating with Israel for the sake of trade and further development of energy resources. As many regions of the world have tar sands resources, including the occupied Palestinian territories, we extend our solidarity with all who are impacted by resource extraction processes, and encroachments on their sovereignty and self-determination.

We reject the mainstream media’s coverage (and lack of coverage) of what is happening and the demonizing of the Palestinian people as terrorists. We reject the Western mainstream media’s ongoing failure to cover the struggle of the Palestinian people as a struggle for freedom and self-determination.

In the movement for environmental and climate justice, we stand with those fighting war and occupation. Militaries exploit land and natural resources to fuel their violent control and power over others. Canada exports 2 million barrels of oil per day to the USA and the US Department of Defense is the world’s largest consumer of oil. Both Harper and Obama have been contributing to the Israeli military’s occupation financially and politically. We will not stay silent as the state and corporations contribute to attacks on communities both here and abroad.

To add fuel to the fire, literally, the unfettered burning of fossil fuels by Israeli and other militaries to wage war and violence on communities is exacerbating climate change and the impacts of droughts, extreme weather events, flooding, and sea level rise. This will lead to an increase in forced displacement and the number of climate refugees hoping to seek access to food, water, and homes elsewhere.

We recognize that the struggle to protect the land, water, and air from colonization, capitalism, and imperialism is a struggle that the people of Gaza face every day.  We extend our voices of solidarity to the people of Gaza who are facing unacceptable escalation of violence as they struggle to end the illegal occupation of their land.

We Stand With the ACFN to Stop Pipelines At the Source

ImageAny fight against the pipelines and tanker projects in BC must be rooted at stopping them at the source—the Alberta Tar Sands. On Tuesday, October 23rd we will be standing with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) as they challenge Shell’s proposed expansion of the Jackpine Mine.

They have filed a constitutional challenge, “citing lack of adequate or meaningful consultation and that the application would have adverse impact on their treaty rights” says a press release put out by the ACFN. It continues to explain that, “the application calls for the mining out of 21 km of the Muskeg river, a river of cultural and traditional significance to both the people and wildlife in the area.” 

This challenge is even more significant given that just yesterday the Conservatives rolled out a new version of the budget bill, Bill C-45, which further undermines Treaty rights and environmental legislation in Canada. In particular, the bill would weaken the Navigable Waters Protection Act, consequently weakening protection of the Muskeg river and making it easier for the expansion to be approved.

The ACFN are hosting a rally and a pipe ceremony on the first day of the constitutional challenge and are  asking supporters to join them in Fort McMurray, Alberta. To learn more about how to get there from Edmonton, email chelseaf@sierraclub.ca. Council of Canadians will be there to support all of the day’s events. For more information on what is planned, check out Stop Shell Now’s event page, here.

Following these projects, Council will continue on its six-day No Pipelines, No Tankers Speaking Tour, stopping in communities on or near the routes of the Pacific Trails, Enbridge Northern Gateway, and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipelines.

“The idea is to build solidarity between the different pipeline campaigns,” says Harjap Grewal, Pacific Regional Organizer of the Council of Canadians. This includes campaigns to stop the pipelines at their source—in the Alberta Tar Sands and Fracking region in northeastern BC. Pipelines planning to bring fossil fuels to BC’s coast for international markets are being fought as individual projects, when they are all part of a larger agenda to secure profits for corporations and oil- and gas-friendly governments.

“If these and other pipelines are allowed to be built, there will be no incentive in the foreseeable future to cut back on the production of fossil fuels and convert to the clean energy future we and the planet need. These pipelines are not only the arteries carrying the dirtiest oil on Earth, they become the drivers of an expanded industry as there will be relentless pressure to keep them full. We must and will stop these pipelines,” says Maude Barlow.

The lineup of speakers include Maude Barlow, Bill McKibbon, Caleb Behn, Rueben George, and many others who will be speaking in numerous cities beginning on Tuesday, October 23rd.

For full information on speakers, locations, and times, please visit the No Pipelines, No Tankers Solidarity Speaking Tour site.


ACTION ALERT: Stop the tar sands at their source, Say NO to Shell

ImageUntil October 1st you can make a written submission or sign up to make a presentation submission to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency about the Shell Jackpine Mine Expansion. Visit stopshellnow.com to find out more or visit this page directly to make your submission. It is easy. It won’t take you long. You can do it now!

On October 23rd, for the first time ever, two First Nations—the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree–will be filing a constitutional challenge against a tar sands mining project. Shell wants to expand the Jackpine Mine, adding 100,000 barrels of bitumen production per day to the existing 200,000 barrels per day. That would be enough to fuel both the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline (525,000bpd) and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline (currently 300,000 and proposed to expand to over 700,000bpd), with plenty to spare. To learn more about these tar sands pipelines, visit www.canadians.org/pipelines

Pipelines are a recipe for disaster and mean fear of fractures and spills that would impact sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, and water systems and rivers that provide communities with water and food. With spills may also come the forced evacuation of communities, but also negligence of community health. People have reported burning eyes and headaches when there have been leaks. But when opposing these pipelines, it is crucial that we not only think about the destruction that happens along the pipeline route, but also the destruction that is happening at the point of extraction and downstream from these mines. Downstream communities have been plagued with rare cancers, increased autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease. There has also been increasing diabetes as people can no longer eat and live off traditional foods because water, fish, and moose have been poisoned by tar sands contamination.

Last Friday, several women from tar sands impacted communities shared their personal stories at the event She Speaks: Indigenous Women Speak Up Against the Tar Sands. One of the speakers, Melina Laboucon-Massimo of the Lubicon Cree First Nation spoke about the community impacts of last year’s Rainbow pipeline rupture and the company’s negligent response and has also produced a photo essay.

This fall, the Council of Canadians will be holding a No Pipelines, No Tankers Speaking Tour in which we talk about the pipelines proposed to bring fossil fuels to BC’s coast for export and corporate profit. We will be talking about the fights against three pipelines in BC—the Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain, and the Pacific Trails Pipeline—and the much needed solidarity in fighting all of the pipelines. For more information about the pipelines tour, visit http://www.canadians.org/pipelines

This blog was also posted on http://www.canadians.org

Over 54 Groups Call For Independnt Inquiry into Pipeline Safety in Alberta

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2012

Redford faces mounting pressure for independent inquiry into pipeline safety

(Edmonton) Representatives of more than 50 provincial organizations today released an open letter calling on Premier Alison Redford to establish an independent inquiry into pipeline safety in Alberta. The organizations represent a broad cross-section of Alberta’s population, including farmer, landowner, labour, health, First Nations and environmental groups.

“The recent spate of pipeline spills has been a wake-up call for all Albertans,” said Don Bester, President of the Alberta Surface Rights Group. “We know that we have a problem with pipeline safety in this province, and we can’t afford to wait another year before starting to look at solutions or diagnosing the problem.”

The text of the open letter sent to the premier and opposition leaders reads:

Dear Premier Redford,

The recent series of major pipeline spills in the province has raised serious concerns for all Albertans about the integrity and oversight of the more than 300,000 kilometres of oil and gas pipelines that crisscross the province. These spills have brought attention to an issue that affects the entire province. Albertans deserve assurances that our pipeline infrastructure is safe, and that appropriate regulations and oversight are in place.

For this reason, we are calling on you to initiate an immediate independent province-wide review of pipeline safety in Alberta, similar to the one which was recently conducted for the Auditor General of Saskatchewan’s 2012 report.

We are encouraged that you have indicated you are “not opposed” to such a review, but we believe that such a critical issue simply cannot wait, as you have indicated, for the conclusion of the ERCB investigation into the recent spills. The average ERCB investigation takes nine months to complete, with some investigations taking years, and broader concerns related to regulation and enforcement are unlikely to be addressed by these investigations. An independent review of regulations and enforcement can and must be conducted in a parallel time frame to any ERCB investigation into individual spills.

Albertans need to know that their families, communities and drinking water are safe from pipeline spills. The time for leadership on pipeline safety is now, and the first step must be an independent pipeline safety review.

Continue reading ‘Over 54 Groups Call For Independnt Inquiry into Pipeline Safety in Alberta’


maryam is an organizer, writer, and friend based in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish Territories. She likes bikes, exploring by kayak, and capoeira. You may have seen some of her writing in Canadian Dimensions, Briarpatch Magazine, The Dominion, or this online blog. You can follow her on twitter @maryamaquarium

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