Upwards of 4,500 protesters of the coalition group Defend Our Coast convened on the British Columbia legislature yesterday to advocate against further development of oil-sands pipelines.
The demonstrators are objecting to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of northern Alberta to a proposed tanker port at Kitimat on the central British Columbia coast.
Kinder Morgan has proposed a $4.1-billion Trans Mountain project that would expand an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver and bring tankers at the rate of about one a day through the already busy Vancouver Harbour.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline would export tar sands to a marine terminal, where they would then be shipped to Asian markets. It’s currently in an ongoing phase of public environmental review. The Gateway pipeline is competing for market share with the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, the southern portion of which is currently being blockaded by protesters in Texas.
Legislators were not in session, but some rallied with the activists. British Columbia’s environment minister made a non-controversial supportive statement from a safe distance: “The members of our government care every bit as much about protecting British Columbia’s environment as anyone who is involved in the protest.”
This was the largest demonstration of its kind in British Columbia, and the Defend Our Coasters show no sign of slowing down.
Coastal First Nations Executive Director Art Sterritt asked the crowd if they were willing to lie down in front of pipeline bulldozers to stop the project if it gets government approval. The crowd roared back, “Yes!”
To follow further actions, stay tuned to #DefendOurCoast.