VANCOUVER, June 18, 2019 /CNW/ - A large and diverse opposition, including landowners, citizen, community and legal groups, the BC Teachers Federation, the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union, more than 150 First Nations and Tribes across Canada and the United States along with numerous environmental organizations said despite the Federal government's latest approval of Trans Mountain, the pipeline will never be built.
"People across British Columbia do not want this pipeline built and will make sure it isn't," said Sonia Theroux, Co-Executive Director of Leadnow. "Tens of thousands of our members have made their views known, and we are ready to mobilize them to stop construction."
According to information from the National Energy Board (NEB), only two of seven segments of the pipeline route are fully approved. Over a quarter of the new pipeline route has not been approved. Twenty-five hearings have yet to take place, including for the Fraser River crossing, Burnaby Mountain tunnel, and areas where schools, homes and municipal water supplies are at risk. As of the latest public update from B.C., 536 permits are still being reviewed and 435 have not even been applied for.
"The reality is that whoever's in power come October will have a really hard time building the pipeline," said Tzeporah Berman, international program director at Stand.earth. "There will be more lawsuits, there is no approved final route, hundreds of permits are still needed and opposition in British Columbia and across Canada has not, and will not, let up."
The proposed pipeline would result in a seven-fold increase in tankers carrying bitumen through the Salish Sea around Vancouver Harbour putting at risk 98,000 coast-dependent jobs, endangered southern resident orcas, salmon, tourism opportunities, and the health of B.C. residents. The 2014 City of Vancouver submission to the NEB by Dr. Mark Jaccard notes the pipeline will increase emissions by 8.8 MT – equivalent to putting 2.2 million passenger vehicles on the road.
"The Federal government's decision today is beyond disappointing, it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable from a climate perspective, blowing up Canada's Paris Commitments in the middle of a climate emergency. And it's unacceptable from a reconciliation perspective, ramming a pipeline through unceded First Nations territories and reserves," said Kennedy Stewart, mayor of Vancouver. "Canadians expect their political leaders to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free future. Instead, this government has chosen to remain in a fossil-fuel dependent past. We can no longer afford to be living in the past – our children can't afford it and we will fight to make sure this expansion never happens."
"The science shows that increased fossil fuel production enabled by expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline will make it practically impossible for Canada to meet its climate commitments," said Kirsten Zickfeld, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University and Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on the global warming of 1.5 degrees. "Any government that increases the capacity of a major oil pipeline and expands the oil sands in 2019 is a government that does not sincerely understand the climate emergency we are living in."
West Coast Environmental Law Association, Unitarian Church of Vancouver Environment Team, Stand.earth, BC Teachers' Federation, Wilderness Committee, Greenpeace Canada, British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union
PIPE UP, Leadnow, Georgia Straight Alliance, Sierra Club BC, Pull Together, Protect the Inlet, Coast Protectors, Rise and Resist Victoria, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE), Sustainabiliteens
For further information: Sonia Theroux, Leadnow, (250) 508-5277 (available to speak in French); Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth, (604) 313-4713; Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee, (778) 239-1935