Tsleil-Waututh Nation Signs Save the Fraser Declaration

Historic signing joins First Nations opposed to pipeline expansion in an unbroken chain from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean

NORTH VANCOUVER, July 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Today the Tsleil-Waututh Nation celebrated its connection to the waters of Burrard Inlet and honoured the work of the Yinka Dene Alliance during a ceremony at its traditional village of Whey-Ah-Wichen. Following the ceremony, Tsleil-Waututh Nation added its name to the Alliance's Save the Fraser Declaration.

The Save the Fraser Declaration is an Indigenous law ban on tar sands pipelines through First Nations traditional territories. It also bans tar sands oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon on the north and south coasts of British Columbia. To date, the Declaration has been signed by more than 100 First Nations, forming an unbroken chain from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean.

"Tsleil-Waututh stands together with First Nations and all British Columbians who do not support pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic," says Chief Justin George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "As People of the Inlet, it is our birthright and obligation to care for the lands and waters of our territory. Pipeline expansion is a risk too great to accept."

"We welcome Tsleil-Waututh's signing of the Declaration. First Nations across B.C. are saying absolutely no oil pipelines or tankers in our territories," said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. "We have banned oil pipelines and tankers using our laws, and we will defend our decision using all the means at our disposal."

Tsleil-Waututh Nation has publicly opposed Kinder Morgan's proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the terminus of which is on Tsleil-Waututh territory on the south shore of Burrard Inlet in Burnaby. The expansion would more than double current pipeline capacity1, potentially resulting in an oil tanker per day entering Burrard Inlet.

Kinder Morgan recently filed a commercial tolling application with the National Energy Board. The application relates to the approval of the contract terms and toll structure that would be implemented on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Tsleil-Waututh Nation will act as an intervenor in the application process.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation experienced first-hand the impacts of a Kinder Morgan oil spill when, in 2007, a spill at the company's Westridge Terminal discharged approximately 234,000 litres of oil2 into Burrard Inlet and the surrounding environment. Another oil spill has the potential to destroy the marine environment that has sustained Tsleil-Waututh people for thousands of years. Already much of the marine life in the Inlet is not harvestable due to pollution in the water.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation supports sustainable business in its territory and strives to create a healthy sustainable economy for its community. Tsleil-Waututh has invested in TWN Wind Power, a renewable energy business that offers communities throughout North America an opportunity to generate clean energy through small wind power.

"This is not just a Tsleil-Waututh issue or an aboriginal rights issue. This is an issue that could impact everyone's quality of life," says Chief Justin George. "Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. For the community as a whole, there is just too much at stake to allow such a project to proceed."

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.

1 Kinder Morgan website http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=93621&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1710795&highlight=
2 BC Ministry of the Environment website http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2007/burnaby_oil_spill_07.htm

Image with caption: "Robbie George and his son, Cassius, of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, stand along the shores of Burrard Inlet prior to the Nation's signing of the Save the Fraser Declaration. Photo by James Maclennan (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120708_C6924_PHOTO_EN_16073.jpg

Image with caption: "Gabe George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Traditional Speaker, leads a ceremony prior to the Nation's signing of the Save the Fraser Declaration. Photo by James Maclennan (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120708_C6924_PHOTO_EN_16072.jpg

Image with caption: "Chief Justin George, Qut-same, of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, signs the Save the Fraser Declaration opposing tar sands pipelines through First Nations territories. Photo by James Maclennan (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120708_C6924_PHOTO_EN_16071.jpg

SOURCE Tsleil-Waututh Nation

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