Kinder Morgan whales layerslider

Fossil Fuels

The science tells us that 80 per cent of the world’s fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground if we are to have any chance to keep global warming under 2⁰C. The exploitation of the tar sands is causing environmental destruction on a mindboggling scale, both where it is dug out of the ground in Alberta and in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the acceleration of climate change. Read more about our campaign for climate action in B.C.

Liquefied fracked gas is becoming an increasing problem across British Columbia as our federal and provincial governments try to force through projects that will destroy salmon runs, pollute our climate, and ignore First Nations opposition. There are currently 20 proposed liquefied fracked gas projects proposed for the province.

Here in B.C., our communities, wild spaces and coast are threatened by two pipeline and tanker proposals,  Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project.

If both these projects proceed, they would result in the release of more than six billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over thirty years.  Either project proceeding would make it impossible for B.C. to meet its current legislated emissions targets, much less the more aggressive targets needed to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change.

We recognize that all of these threats are intertwined, and so we must take action on each of them in a coordinated way that honours Indigenous rights and title. In May 2016, Tsartlip First Nation partnered with us for the WSANEC Salish Sea Gathering. Powerful speakers including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip addressed many of these interconnected threats facing our lands and waters in B.C. We are grateful to ShawTV for bringing highlights of the day together in this short documentary.


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Kinder Morgan


Download our Kinder Morgan Fact Sheet

The proposed pipeline would bring another 400 tankers a year, putting salmon rivers and the B.C. coast at much greater risk of catastrophic oil spills.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project would release even more carbon dioxide than Northern Gateway—significantly more than 100 million tonnes annually.

We need to look at the big picture. We should be shifting investment toward energy efficiency and renewable energy, not building new infrastructure to expand the exploitation of the world’s dirtiest oil – Alberta’s tar sands.

Stopping the Kinder Morgan expansion is crucial to shifting Canada’s energy sector away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward economic alternatives that protect communities and slow global warming.

In May 2016, the National Energy Board approved Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project. The review was a severely flawed process that denied many people a chance to speak up. Prime Minister Trudeau heard our calls for an improved review, and promised B.C. a chance for meaningful public participation. Summer meetings were announced with very little notice and a hastily-organized review was conducted by a three-member federal Ministerial Panel. The panel’s report raised a series of crucial questions for the federal cabinet.

In November 2016, the federal government approved the pipeline, making B.C.—and especially the south coast—a sacrifice zone. In January, the province of B.C. gave its approval. This failure of Premier Christy Clark to stand up for B.C.’s interests was a sell-out and a betrayal. Despite what the Premier says, the 5 conditions for approval have not been met and can never be met.

Sierra Club BC will continue to push for the federal government to make the right decision—for whales, for salmon, for our economy and for our climate. We are relaunching the Pull Together campaign, which was successful in stopping the Enbridge pipeline. By helping to raise funds for First Nations’ legal challenges to Kinder Morgan, we will ensure this pipeline is never built.




Liquefied Fracked Gas


Scientific evidence shows clearly that building liquefied fracked gas plants—what the industry brands as “natural” gas—will spread a destructive web of pipelines, plants, fracking sites, compressor stations, and work camps across British Columbia.

One of the twenty proposed fracked gas plants in B.C.—the Petronas fracked gas plant proposed for Lelu Island—would threaten to wipe out Canada’s second largest salmon run, would be disastrous for our climate, and would trample over First Nations opposition. This plant alone would be responsible for an astonishing 265 million tonnes per year making it impossible for B.C. to meet its current (inadequate) emissions targets.

The declining value of LNG in global markets now undermines any business case for LNG in B.C., and many proposals are being shelved. British Columbia should be putting its resources toward renewable energy and transitioning to a post-carbon economy.

In Spring 2016, more than 11,000 Sierra Club BC supporters sent letters to the federal government Petronas’ fracked gas proposal. In September, the federal government approved the plant, betraying B.C.’s wild salmon and all Canadians who voted for real action on climate change.

This decision is not the end of the story. Petronas says it will review the project to see if it’s financially viable before deciding whether or not to proceed. And First Nations are considering legal challenges.

Sierra Club BC will continue to highlight the dangers posed by Petronas, its incompatibility with decreasing global demand for fossil fuels, and the benefits of the alternatives. We’ll also continue to push for both the federal and provincial governments to include a rigorous climate test in all future environmental assessments, so this kind of climate-killing approval can never happen in the future. In the process, we will help build the case for Petronas to walk away.




Enbridge


Northern Gateway would bring more than 200 tankers a year – two to three per week – through grey whale feeding grounds in the waters off the Great Bear Rainforest. A single oil spill would devastate the coastal communities and First Nations that rely on tourism and fishing for food, livelihoods and their culture. If it goes ahead, Northern Gateway would cause the release of 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution each and every year.  Over 30 years, that’s three billion tonnes!

The risks are simply too great. The damage to our climate is simply too enormous.

A majority of British Columbians oppose Northern Gateway, along with many coastal businesses and tourism associations, the Union of B.C. municipalities, and multiple unions. More than 100 First Nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, prohibiting tar sands projects from crossing their territories and  Coastal First Nations have declared a ban on oil tankers in the Great Bear Rainforest.

When the federal government announced their decision to approve the project, with 209 conditions, we were ready. We launched the hugely successful Pull Together in partnership with RAVEN Trust to support First Nations legal challenges against Enbridge. In June 2016 we saw results! The Federal Court of Appeal overturned federal approval for Northern Gateway saying that the government failed in its duty to consult first nations.

We will be calling on the federal government to legislate a permanent, binding oil tanker ban for BC’s north coast —  the surest way to protect the Great Bear Rainforest from oil spills.




Climate Action in B.C.


Our climate is in crisis. Yet federal and provincial environmental assessments ignore the full climate impacts of the projects they review. That’s unacceptable.

That’s why Sierra Club BC is calling for a climate test to be built in environmental assessments, both federally and provincially.

A “climate test” will test proposed energy projects against their impact on our climate. This will involve consideration of the proposals’ emissions, from extraction to transportation to eventual consumption, and whether there are more climate-friendly alternatives. If a proposal doesn’t meet the test, it doesn’t go ahead.




Stay up-to-date with the latest information and updates about our fossil fuels and climate campaigns by signing up for our newsletter and alerts.


Recent Updates

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Pull Together 2.0: The People vs. Kinder Morgan

First Nations can stop Kinder Morgan in the courts. Let’s not stand by and watch them go it alone. That’s why we’re relaunching Pull Together. We’re supporting the Tsleil-Waututh and Coldwater Nations who are in court to overturn the federal approval. There are lots of ways you can help.
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Pay up, Chevron: BC cities, towns challenged to hold fossil fuel industry accountable for climate impacts

More than 50 community groups from across BC have signed onto an open letter arguing that fossil fuel companies owe BC communities for their fair share of the impacts of climate change. The letter was delivered to all 190 municipalities and regional districts in BC, asking them to demand accountability from the fossil fuel industry, up to and including considering lawsuits against Chevron and other big fossil fuel companies.
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Sierra Club BC statement in response to approval of Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal

“Today’s decision is an abject failure to stand up for B.C.’s interests. Despite Premier Clark’s spin on it, the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers are a terrible deal for British Columbians. This is not a deal, this is a B.C. sell-out. This is a betrayal of the hardworking people and places of this resource-rich province."
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Why my brain injury makes me fight to save whales

Sierra Club BC Campaigns Director Caitlyn Vernon suffered a concussion this year that made her understand the threat oil tankers pose to orca whales in a new light.