A group of so-called “kayak-tivists” took to the waters in the Port of Seattle to protest Kinder Morgan’s presence there Sunday.
A coalition of 30 activists with the groups Stand.Earth and Mosquito Fleet surrounded a large oil tanker and held banners and signs calling for an end to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The protesters are looking to stop the flow of crude oil into the port’s Kinder Morgan terminal, saying the threat to the waters shared between the U.S. and Canada will only increase if the pipeline is built.
“In the Salish Sea, Kinder Morgan is increasing the number of tanker traffic that’s coming and going,” Sven Biggs with Stand.Earth said.
“Of course, if Kinder Morgan is allowed to build the new Trans Mountain pipeline, that’ll be over 400 tankers coming and going through these waters and it increases the risk and threatens both our communities.”
The kayakers spent roughly two hours on the water, blocking access to the terminal and documenting the protest on social media.
Port of Seattle police were on hand to observe the protest, but confirms there were no arrests.
The coalition said the Trans Mountain pipeline would see upwards of 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day travelling from Alberta to B.C., which would result in a 700 per cent increase in oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea to refineries in Washington and other U.S. coastal states.
Biggs said with that steep of an increase, the environmental effects on the neighbouring communities could be damaging even without an accidental spill.
Members of the coalition said alliances between Canadian and American activists are important, and applauded the positions taken by B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee against the project.
Inslee announced on Friday that he is pledging his support in the B.C. government’s fight over controlling the flow of bitumen through the pipeline, which has caught the ire of the Alberta and federal governments.
In a statement, Kinder Morgan said it supports the right to protest the project, understanding that not everyone supports the expansion.
“We’re confident we can build and operate this project in a way that respects the values and priorities of Canadians and in respect of the environment,” the company added.
The protest comes a day after activists marched to Kinder Morgan’s facility on Burnaby Mountain in an attempt to delay construction of the pipeline. More than two dozen people were arrested.
—With files from Michelle Morton and King 5 News Seattle