Kinder Morgan pipeline approval: Opponents ‘prepared to go to jail’ protest in Vancouver
The protests started hours in Vancouver after Ottawa’s decision to approve Kinder Morgan’s Pipeline Expansion project on Tuesday.
Demonstrators chanted and drummed as they marched through downtown streets Tuesday night.
Hundreds of protesters turned up for the rally, saying they are angry about the approval.
The $6.8-billion project would triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day, and would add 980 kilometres of new pipe along the route from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.
Despite the government’s approval of the line, opponents say they will continue to fight.
“It still puts the Fraser River at risk,” said Chief Terry Teegee with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. “So I think that’s the next battle for the many First Nations that live along the Fraser River.”
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she is personally prepared to go to jail to stop Kinder Morgan. “And I think I’m not the only one,” she said. “I think I’ll be sharing a cell with the mayor of Vancouver, the mayor of Victoria, the mayor of Burnaby [and] First Nations leaders.”
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan told Global News he is “disappointed and depressed” about the approval. “I think of all the work that has gone in trying to express our case, all of the research our staff has done, all the scientific studies that have been presented to the National Energy Board and eventually they’re dismissed as simply being politics,” he said.
“The prime minister proceeds in the same way the previous government did.”
Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr, an outspoken critic of the pipeline, said on Global News Morning BC she feels “betrayed” by Tuesday’s announcement.
“The science is clear, Canada to meet those global committments on climate change has to bring down greenhouse gas emissions in total by 200 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 14 years, by 2030,” said Carr. “The Kinder Morgan Pipeline project alone contributes more, in terms of 125 million metric tonnes.”
“You Can’t balance that. If you put that pipeline in place, you are asking everyone else, every sector of the economy, every individual in Canada to virutally use no fossil fuels. It’s an impossibility.”
WATCH: Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr joined Sonia Sunger on Global News Morning to talk more about the government’s decision.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the project would be approved with 157 conditions. He said he expects the decision to be “bitterly disputed” by a number of people across the country, but said the project is in Canada’s best interests.
“If I thought this project was unsafe for the B.C. coast, I would reject it,” he said. “This is a decision based on rigorous debate, on science, and evidence. We have not been and will not be swayed by political arguments. Be they local, or regional, or national. We have made this decision because we are convinced it is safe for B.C., and it is the right one for Canada.”
Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, said on Global News Morning BC the reaction that he’s seen so far is based on the passion that people in B.C. have for the environment.
“But getting the balance right between our economy as we transition to [being] less-reliant on fossil fuels is very important to our government,” said Sajjan. “This decision was very important to get the right balance, make sure the right safeguards are in place and there’s a lot more work to be done.”
He added there is “no way” the government would have approved the expansion if they knew they could not handle the risks involved in a potential spill or incident with a tanker.
“As we grow the economy, which we need to do, and then transition off fossil fuels, which is very important, we have to do it in a sustainable way,” Sajjan said. “And that’s what yesterday’s decision was about.”
WATCH: The federal government has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and many people in B.C. say they won’t let it go ahead without a fight. To talk more about the government giving the project the green light, Global News Morning was joined by the National Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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