Protesters flocked to Burnaby Mountain on Saturday, September 13 to oppose Kinder Morgan’s survey, which is investigating how they can triple their pipeline operation in Burnaby.
Kinder Morgan is conducting the survey despite the city’s opposition to the project — demonstrated recently in an injunction filed by the city. The injunction was rejected last Wednesday by a BC Supreme Court judge.
Event speakers included SFU professor of English, Stephen Collis, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Carlene Thomas with the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Sacred Trust, among several others. During the event, several protesters chained themselves to Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal.
The speakers expressed their concerns for both the local and global climate. Many noted that the protest on Burnaby Mountain reflected the need to stand up against climate change altogether.
Collis set the mood for the event, describing the proposed pipeline expansion as “three times the amount of diluted bitumen and crude oil [. . .] loaded into three times as many tankers here in our harbour, [dumping] three times as much carbon into our atmosphere,” saying, “That is not acceptable.”
Collis told The Peak that SFU students need to interrogate the meaning of “living exactly where climate change is happening.”
In response to questions about society’s increasing need for oil, Collis said, “We need energy, but oil is not the only way to get energy.”
He continued, “There is a way of carefully transitioning [. . .] from fossil fuels to a replacement, but [Canadians are] not starting that transition. In fact, we’re going the other way.”
Mayor Corrigan then spoke about the support he feels from the city in his decision to oppose this project. According to polling, Corrigan said, “70 per cent of the people in Burnaby are supporting us in the efforts that we are making, and more are being added each and every day.” For him, the protest represents a stand “against the kind of corporate interests that are tending now to control so much of our culture.”
Corrigan believes the opposition also marks a desire to preserve the park. The city bought the conservation area from SFU years ago, which was done “to ensure that we were [. . .] the guardians of this conservation area.”
Of Kinder Morgan specifically, Corrigan cited concerns that the corporate “Goliath” would deem the mountain unsuitable to house the pipeline expansion, resulting instead in a push for it to be routed through the conservation area.
He said that the destruction to the people, the city, and the wildlife of Burnaby caused by a tanker spill in the inlet would mean that “no one would want to come to British Columbia to see what was one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”
He continued, “We’ve just increased [oil spill] odds by seven times as a result of this project.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip similarly showed distrust of the corporation and concerns for the environment. “A spill is a spill is a spill,” he said. “We know the absolute devastation that that will wreak on this beautiful land, and how devastating and destructive it will be to so many tens of thousands of lives. And yet KM and their cronies in government could [not] care less.”
He called on “the power of the people,” to hold government and companies accountable.
A final environmental assessment report by Kinder Morgan is due to cabinet on January 25, 2016.