This story is part of the series Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia, which explores the path to low-carbon energy for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. This project is produced in partnership with InvestigateWest and other media outlets and is supported in part by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Mike McKenzie felt that he had to leave his home. He says he was no longer welcome in Skeetchestn, a community in central British Columbia west of Kamloops that’s one of 17 reserves in the Secwepemc Nation. Three years later, he’s still not home.
His uprooting was by choice, but not by preference. McKenzie said he felt compelled to leave because of tensions around his outspoken opposition to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which is building a second pipeline to pump heavy oil from Alberta’s tar sands to a tanker terminal near Vancouver.
Opposition comes with conflict since the project has also amassed considerable support within the Secwepemc Nation. Some elected chiefs representing Secwepemc reserves say its environmental risks are manageable, and four signed long-term agreements for shared benefits between their communities... Read more