We, the undersigned, express our support for those who are protecting Burnaby Mountain from Kinder Morgan geotechnical survey work.
Burnaby Mountain is public land (on unceded Indigenous territories) that is used frequently as a recreational area and is a designated Conservation Area.
The City of Burnaby and its residents have been vocal for several years against Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and terminal expansion proposal that would transport even more diluted bitumen and bring even more tankers to the Burrard Inlet.
Over 70% of Burnaby residents are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. (Source: http://is.gd/j79aOJ) Residents have been educating themselves through town halls, teach-ins and personal research and have determined that the risks to public safety and environmental degradation from Kinder Morgan’s proposal are too high. Many residents are no strangers to the harmful health impacts of tar sands crude given that the city was home to a terrible oil spill in 2007.
The City of Burnaby is currently in the process of appealing a National Energy Board decision that grants Kinder Morgan access to the designated Conservation Area. This is a critical constitutional question of whether a regulatory body can grant a corporation the authority to override municipal bylaws.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has also launched a legal challenge of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tankers project. This is the first legal challenge by a First Nation against the new pipeline and tanker proposal, citing the federal government’s failure to first consult Tsleil-Waututh on key decisions about the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.
The pipeline facilitates Tar Sands expansion on Indigenous territories along the pipeline route and at the source. This would violate numerous Aboriginal Treaty Rights and the overall well-being of these communities, many of whom have already emphatically said no to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. As the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently upheld, it is the federal government’s duty to respect these treaties, as well as the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples living on unceded lands along the pipeline route.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that community members are on Burnaby Mountain. These caretakers and residents should not be facing an injunction or a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a corporate energy giant. Given the federal government’s failure to respond to residents, to Indigenous communities at the source of Tar Sands destruction and along the proposed pipeline route, and to municipal concerns, we laud these protectors for their bravery in taking a stand against Kinder Morgan.
The Board and Staff at the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group