Tar Sands Pipelines Opposed from Washington to Pacific Coast

pipeline

Image by afterfate via Flickr

Vancouver – After more than 12,000 people surrounded the White House to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, activists on the other side of North America are making it known that tar sands pipelines will also meet fierce opposition here.

“We’re inspired to see the massive opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington, DC, because that project would put us one big step further down the road to climate catastrophe by facilitating the dangerous expansion of the tar sands in Alberta,” said Ben West, Climate Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.”We are fighting pipelines and oil tankers here in BC for the same reasons.”

In British Columbia, there is widespread opposition to increasing pipeline construction for export of tar sands crude oil. A May 2010 poll showed that 80 per cent of British Columbians supported banning crude oil tankers from BC’s coastal waters. A 2011 poll of Metro Vancouverites showed that only 35 per cent of local residents support the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet, and 31 per cent support any expansion to the pipeline.

“Clearly the vast majority of local residents don’t want oil tankers off our coast or in our inlet. We all deserve to have a say regarding these issues, but this is particularly significant for indigenous people who still have land and title rights over the area where these energy giants want to build and expand pipelines and oil tanker traffic,” said West.

First Nations have overwhelmingly stated their ongoing opposition to the Enbridge pipeline and super-tankers, and last week the Tsleil-Waututh Nation declared its strong opposition to the potential expansion of Kinder Morgan’s existing oil pipeline

that ends in Burnaby and would result in major tanker traffic increases in their traditional waters, which include Vancouver Harbour.

Municipalities throughout British Columbia are also concerned about the expansion of oil tanker traffic on the Pacific coast. The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) recently passed an emergency resolution stating: “local governments were not actively consulted regarding Kinder Morgan’s historic or planned expansion of oil tanker traffic.”

2 Comments

  1. Nick Murphy says:

    I think an important consideration in whether or not blocking the development of this pipeline is feasible, and secondly whether banning the tankers from coastal waters is politically salient, requires you to ask the question: does the average respondent to this survey know how much tax revenue would be lost to provincial and federal government if such proposals were to be enacted? 

    It’s not a criticism of the article but more a consideration about how far politicians may go in supporting such a proposal. Voter stickiness on this kind of issue would only be possible with a full realization of the cost to their pocket. Otherwise a politician may eventually be able to say that preventing this pipeline from construction is hitting the wealth of voters and cause a dramatic fall in support at the ballot boxes.

    Unfortunately as mentioned in the article referenced: “The National Energy Board has regulatory oversight of the twinning, but Kinder Morgan owns the pipeline right-of-way to the coast. That means the federal cabinet could waive regulatory requirements and allow the expansion to proceed.”

    Meaning that federal government may have control anyway.

    http://www.eco-cities.org – positive environmental actions for city life

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