Tsleil-Waututh Nation Disappointed in Government of BC's Pipeline Announcement

Nation reaffirms opposition to proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, July 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Tsleil-Waututh Nation is expressing disappointment in yesterday's announcement by the government of British Columbia of its five minimum requirements for oil pipeline construction and operation. The Nation, which is opposing Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, says the requirements do nothing to reduce the environmental risks of pipeline expansion, nor do they acknowledge the full extent of First Nations' legal rights in the process.

"As People of the Inlet, it is our birthright and obligation to care for the lands and waters of our territory. Our rights and title give us a voice. And we will use our voice to ensure our rights are fully upheld," says Chief Justin George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "We remain resolute in our opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, and we will be not be swayed by the provincial government's announcement."

In its announcement, the government of British Columbia says that oil companies must "address" legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights. However, addressing these rights is not enough. They must be fully met.

"We expect informed, meaningful government-to-government consultation on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal," says Chief Justin George. "No consultation has yet happened with Tsleil-Waututh."

In its list of five requirements, the Province refers to B.C.'s "world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems." This is particularly troubling to the Tsleil-Waututh community, which is still dealing with the effects of a 2007 Kinder Morgan oil spill, which discharged approximately 234,000 litres of oil into the Burrard Inlet and adjacent areas.

"Our community was deeply affected by the 2007 spill. Our inlet has been scarred by the impacts of oil spills," says Carleen Thomas, elected Councilor of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "We have seen firsthand the inadequacies of emergency response and clean up efforts."

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is also gravely concerned about the repealing of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act through Bill C-38.  It will significantly change the rules about how, and if, federal environmental assessment will occur on the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The reduction of science personnel across government and the closure of the Pacific Coast's oil-spill response centre will diminish capacity to prevent, monitor, and respond to environmental disasters.

"We are convinced that pipeline expansion is the wrong thing for the Inlet, the Lower Mainland, and the province. All of the risks are here and none of the benefits," says Thomas. "And the risks are simply too great to accept."

About Tsleil-Waututh Nation
Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a progressive and vibrant Coast Salish community of approximately 500 members located along the shores of Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. For more information please visit www.twnation.ca.

SOURCE: Tsleil-Waututh Nation

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