Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nations Aim to Leave Pipeline Twinning Proposal Dead in the Water

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nations Aim to Leave Pipeline Twinning Proposal Dead in the Water

Article excerpt

Canoe trip to deliver a stop to pipeline plan


VANCOUVER - When a geyser spewed black oil across a Vancouver-area neighbourhood in 2007, the result of a punctured pipeline, members of the Tsleil-Waututh were among those working to clean up the Burrard Inlet shoreline.

On Saturday, members of North Vancouver band whose name translates to "people of the inlet" will dip their paddles in the same body of water in an attempt to prevent the expansion of the pipeline.

"It was a really big eye opener for us to be involved in that process," said Chief Justin George.

Burrard Inlet will become the scene of a floating protest trip Saturday as 20 canoes shove off to demonstrate against the proposed expansion of the Trans-Mountain oil pipeline and to also celebrate the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh connection to the Salish Sea.

Built in 1957, the Trans-Mountain Pipeline transports oil from Alberta to Burnaby where it is loaded onto oil tankers.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan owns the pipeline and, according to documents on a website the company dedicated to the project, a proposal for a 900-kilometre expansion of the existing pipeline is in the works.

The existing line would be used for refined products such as synthetic crude oil and the new line would transport heavier oils.

The $4.1 billion project would increase the pipeline's oil capacity to 750,000 barrels per day from its current 300,000.

Expansion of the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, where the oil is loaded onto ships, as well as oil storage facilities in the Lower Mainland would also take place.

George said his band aims to stop the expansion over concerns about the slow death of Burrard Inlet or an oil spill.

"Human error is inevitable," said George.

On July 24, 2007, a backhoe's scoop punctured an oil pipeline running under the Barnet Highway in Burnaby and sent 234,000 litres of crude into a nearby neighbourhood. …

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