Canadian court sides with orca protection and Indigenous sovereignty; major setback for Trans Canada pipeline

Washington, D.C.—Today, August 30, 2018 Greenpeace USA responded to a Canadian court’s ruling that the Canadian government did not properly assess the impact that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project could have on the survival of the endangered Southern Resident Orca, including the threat posed by a seven-fold increase in oil tanker ship traffic through the orcas’ habitat. The court also ruled that Indigenous people in British Columbia were not properly consulted before the project was approved by Canada’s government. The decisions represent a major setback for the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and its prospects of being completed.

Kayah George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Tulalip Tribe, spoke about the fight against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project when Greenpeace's Artic Sunrise stopped overnight in Friday Harbor earlier this summer. Photo by Sharon Kivisto

In response, Greenpeace USA Tar Sands Campaigner Rachel Rye Butler said:

“Today’s decision is a major win for Indigenous Nations and for the environment. It has long been obvious that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project violates Indigenous sovereignty and would cause irreparable harm to our environment and the health of people; while threatening the extinction of the Southern Resident orca. It’s time to pull the plug on this project once and for all.

“Today’s ruling gives Canada a chance to walk away from this disastrous and costly project and we encourage Prime Minister Trudeau to do so. The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project is once again facing delay and uncertainty, making it all the more perplexing why the Canadian government would continue to push forward a pipeline that does not have consent from the Indigenous Nations whose land it crosses, and that threatens the climate and coastal economies.

“It’s not surprising that 99 percent of Kinder Morgan Canada’s shareholders voted today to officially sell the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project to the Canadian government. In what can only be viewed as a bailout to the company, the Canadian government bought the project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion earlier this year as the company was looking to unload the beleaguered pipeline.

“Today’s decision is a testament to the power of people and the strength of the Indigenous-led movement against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. People will continue to resist until this toxic pipeline is cancelled for good.”

Greenpeace USA recently released a report documenting the threat that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project poses to local communities along the Pacific Coast, including the potential extinction of the Southern Resident orca. That is why the organization has called for Washington Governor Jay Inslee and his Orca Task Force to take bold action on the scale of implementing an emergency moratorium on all new fossil fuel tanker traffic through the orcas’ habitat until the Southern Resident population is stabilized.

Earlier this year, energy company Kinder Morgan decided to abandon the Trans Mountain pipeline and are planning to sell it to the Canadian government after it faced, among other obstacles, an overwhelming wave of protests and negative press across Canada and in the Pacific Northwest United States.

 

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