What is it?

Kinder Morgan is a Texas-based pipeline building company that proposed to twin its existing Trans Mountian pipeline and triple the flow of diluted bitumen. If constructed, the pipelines will transport 890,000 barrels a day from Edmonton to Burnaby and result in a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic at Westridge Marine Terminal.

The project, representing a massive investment in fossil fuels, threatens Canada’s commitment to “reduc[e] GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030”1, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement goal to limit temperature increase to below 1.5°C below pre-industrial levels, in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The sevenfold increase of tanker traffic along the narrow, busy coastal waters along the Georgia Straight presents a significant increase in the likelyhood of a spill, the occurance of which would be catastrophic to the environmental, economic, and cultural interests of the region. In particular, coastal First Nations would suffer irrevocable damage to ecosystems which they rely on.

The approval of the project by the NEB is in contradiction with Canada’s “endors[ement of] the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,”2 particularily Article 32.2 of the declaration, that states must obtain “free and informed consent [from First Nations] prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands.”3 Several Nations, including the Tsleil Waututh, Squamish, Coldwater, and Secwépemc Nations have voiced vocal opposition to the project.


Timeline

Kinder Morgan filed an application to the National Energy Board (NEB) on December 16th, 2013 to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. They aimed to begin construction in 2017 and operation by the end of 2019.

On November 29th, 2016, the federal government approved the controversial Trans Mountain expansion project despite the fierce opposition from First Nations and environmental groups.

While our Prime Minister reassured Canadians of his commitment to the Paris climate agreement, he also said that "there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it." At the end of May 2018, the federal government announced that it had reached a deal with Kinder Morgan Canada to purchase the pipeline and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion, claiming that the project is in the national interest.

On August 30th, 2018, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed Trudeau’s approval of the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion due to flawed First Nations consultation and negligence of oil tanker risks. This halted construction on the project and sent the government back to the review phase to examine the impacts of tanker traffic and consult more deeply with First Nations.

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Opposition at UBC

Prior to the approval, we organized UBC students to create a unified body of young people demanding a better world. More than 100 students converged on the Stop Kinder Morgan: No Consent, No Pipeline rally and joined forces to send the government a clear message: we do not grant Kinder Morgan the permission to operate.

Our fight did not end when the government approved the project. With Kinder Morgan poised to start construction on its Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, we organized students to come together to the larger Kinder Morgan: We Still Say No rally together with UBC Pride Collective. UBCC350 helped bring youth voice into climate action and show opposition to resource expansion projects that threaten Indigenous rights.


We continued our opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by participating in Pull Together's campaign of 9 Days of Solidarity. We hosted two fundraisers—a raffle during UBC Common Energy's Vancouver's Largest Clothing Swap and Climate Coffee House— to support First Nations legal battles against the pipeline project.

After the August 30th, 2018 court decision sending the project back to the review phase, Pull Together is still in need of support for legal fees incurred by court battles against the pipeline. On November 2nd, 2018 we hosted Pull Together against Kinder Morgan: Coffee House & Fundraiser to raise money for Pull Together as well as spread awareness about the expansion project and the ongoing need for opposition.


Footnotes.[1] “Progress towards Canada's greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.” Government of Canada. Feburary 2, 2018 https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/progress-towards-canada-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-target.html.
[2] “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. August 3, 2017 https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1309374407406/1309374458958.
[3] UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 2 October 2007, A/RES/61/295, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/471355a82.html [accessed 4 November 2018]