‘A spill could be catastrophic for our people’
Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) challenges province’s Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion environmental approval
VANCOUVER (Nov. 2, 2017) — Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) is challenging the B.C. government’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the B.C. Supreme Court in a judicial review starting on Monday.
“The provincial government failed in its duty to adequately consult Squamish Nation on a project that threatens our land rights and could result in an environmental disaster,” said Chief Ian Campbell, an elected councillor and spokesperson for Squamish Nation. “Our concerns were not addressed.”
The B.C. government had participated in the National Energy Board process in 2016 and questioned the lack of information about diluted bitumen should a marine spill occur, then in January quickly approved the project’s environmental assessment certificate before announcing a deal worth up to $1 billion ($25 million to $50 million annually) over 20 years.
The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the capacity of oil in the pipeline and is expected to increase the number of tankers from five to 35 each month.
The tankers pass by three Squamish Nation communities on the Burrard Inlet along with historic villages.
“A marine spill could be catastrophic for the Squamish people. The government granted the certificate without enough information about how the bitumen could be cleaned up when a spill occurs in the Burrard Inlet or in the Salish Sea,” Chief Campbell said.
In October, Squamish Nation also participated with other First Nations in a judicial review against the federal approval of the pipeline expansion. The NDP B.C. government acted as an intervener in the federal case but has indicated it will go ahead next week with defending the former Liberal B.C. government’s environmental assessment certificate approval.
“Were they just posturing when they joined First Nations in the fight against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion last month?” Chief Campbell asked.
The provincial judicial review, expected to last one week, will begin at the B.C. Supreme Court at 800 Smithe St. in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m.