The People vs. Kinder Morgan

9 Days of solidarity for Kinder Morgan court dates

September 1 was the date Kinder Morgan had planned to begin construction of its unacceptable pipeline and tankers project. The wall of opposition is building, both in the courts and on the land. The BC government has made it clear that Kinder Morgan has not met its obligations, as set out in the NEB‘s conditions for approval, to consult with First Nations. Therefore, as far as the government is concerned, Kinder Morgan has no authority to begin work.

 The BC government has also been granted intervener status in the 19 bundled court cases opposing Kinder Morgan currently before the federal Court of Appeal. These are the same types of cases, challenging the process by which approval was granted by the federal cabinet, that scuttled Enbridge’s pipe dream.

 By the time you read this, the Province will have filed its memorandum with the court. And we will also know if Kinder Morgan has defied the law by proceeding with work on the project.

 At the same time, First Nations and their allies are moving forward with other forms of resistance. Some forms of Indigenous resistance are direct action and civil disobedience. Underlying these actions is a fundamental clash of legal systems: the assertion of Indigenous law and title on the one hand, and settler law on the other. It‘s an important debate, which in the settler legal system has taken the form of a slowly evolving clarification of what Indigenous “consent” to economic development means in the context of title and rights.

Sierra Club BC‘s Mark Worthing has been working in solidarity with Indigenous and provides this report from the front lines. Some of the activities he describes conflict with what Sierra Club BC can engage in and advocate for under the terms of our charitable status. We are providing Mark‘s report to help people understand the why and how of Indigenous resistance to Kinder Morgan.

If Kinder Morgan unlawfully begins construction on its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project it will be met with unified Indigenous resistance such as this province has never before seen. It will be knowingly throwing sparks at a powder keg of resistance.

At the forefront of this movement are indigenous peoples standing up to a corporate bully on land, in the water, and in the court room.

This October, join Sierra Club BC for 9 days of solidarity with First Nations fighting the Trans Mountain proposal in court.

On October 2nd, the leadership of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Coldwater, and Stk‘emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nations will begin a monumental court case against Kinder Morgan. This is the moment for which we’ve been Pulling Together.

I encourage you to attend the kick off rally for the court case, organize a fundraiser for Pull Together, show your support on social media, attend the Lummi solidarity totem pole journey in Vancouver, educate yourself about indigenous title and rights, and read the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

If you dance, then dance and if you sing then sing!  Let’s stick together and remember that we’re for wild salmon, climate stability, Indigenous rights and title, and a prosperous future for our children’s children.

Outside the courtroom, Indigenous folks on the frontlines of resistance are fighting to prevent the Trans Mountain pipeline from proceeding. Members of the Secwepemc nation near Kamloops are building tiny homes on the pipeline pathway following the historic Secwepemc Declaration against Kinder Morgan.

The Kwantlen say they are ready to “do what it takes to stop [the pipeline]” and are gearing up to build their healing lodge on the pipeline route in Langley.

At the Westridge terminal in Burnaby, where the National Energy Board has said the Trans Mountain pipeline project has met conditions required for the expansion of its Marine Terminal, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation continues to hold its ground.

And the Union of BC Indian Chiefs remain steadfast in their opposition. As Grand Chief Stewart Philip said, “with our voice, in the courts or the streets, on the water or the land. Whatever it takes, we will stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.”

For the 9 days and beyond, we are all in this together. Now is the time to stand in solidarity.

Statement on potential federal approval of Trans Mountain pipeline


 April 12, 2016

Sierra Club BC’s climate and energy campaigner Larissa Stendie reacts to media reports that the federal government intends to approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline:

“When will our governments take a serious look at the global situation and stop bending over backwards to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry? The governments of Canada and British Columbia claim to be climate leaders, but nothing they’re doing moves us away from catastrophic 4-6⁰C of warming.

“Locking us into unnecessary, expensive, dangerous carbon-heavy infrastructure like the Kinder Morgan pipeline demonstrates that Canada—for all its high blown rhetoric about keeping warming to 1.5⁰C—remains still stuck in old-fashioned, extractive, colonial thinking.

“We risk being left behind as the rest of the world modernizes its approach and shifts to a post-carbon economy.

“The economic arguments for pipelines and for the tar sands just don’t make sense. U.S. pipelines are already taking tar sands oil to southern U.S. refineries at the best global price. A recent report from Oil Change International confirms that shipping tar sands crude to Asia, where it competes with light shale production will not make for better prices.

“In addition, as the world gets tougher on emissions, the tar sands risk becoming stranded assets and pipelines white elephants.

“Clean, green energy and technology now dominates energy market growth. Supporting the necessary shift to a post-carbon economy is the smart, responsible, profitable choice for lasting job creation, resilient communities and thriving ecosystems across the country.

“Nothing in either government’s plans to improve our outdated spill response systems on land and sea can prevent spills from happening, and no technology exists to actually clean it up when it does.

“First Nations, such as the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, recognize this and are fighting in the courts to keep Kinder Morgan out. Residents of Burnaby know all too well what it feels like to have bitumen spilling down their streets. If it can happen there, it can and will happen elsewhere. It is only a matter of time.

“If approving these pipelines is a foregone decision at the federal level, it seems the federal government’s plan for new hearings is just a theatrical production laid on to create the illusion of fair process. Given the scientific evidence and public opposition, is the federal government willing to cause irreparable harm to British Columbia, its communities and its coast by pushing this pipeline on an unwilling province?

“As the world moves to adopt the Paris agreement on Earth Day, government rhetoric must urgently be met with real action to secure a future all Canadians can unite around.”



Original National Post article:



Larissa Stendie

Climate and Energy Campaigner, Sierra Club BC


Featured image by “Maureen” via flickr

Pipelines and Earthquakes: a ticking time bomb for Lower Mainland residents

January 28, 2016


Burnaby, BC–-Today, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) will present its argument to the National Energy Board, asserting Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline must be rejected because of the elevated risk of a major spill in an earthquake prone region.

“We asked Kinder Morgan how it intended to respond to the seismic hazard in this region. Its response was, essentially, ‘trust us’. Kinder Morgan won’t provide details of its mitigation plan across fault lines,” said Neil Chantler, legal counsel for BROKE. “And it has failed to conduct seismic tests recommended by its own experts.”

BROKE says Kinder Morgan has failed to follow best design practices, failed to conduct adequate field studies, and failed to provide important information related to emergency management.

“Even if we knew their plans, emergency preparedness kits will never equip us to deal with piping toxic, explosive diluted bitumen through densely populated neighborhoods in the most seismically active area of Canada,” said Larissa Stendie, energy and climate campaigner for Sierra Club BC. “The recent earthquake that shook Victoria and Vancouver was a startling reminder that a fault line is a terrible place for a pipeline.”

BROKE’s submission describes a 73 per cent probability of moderate-to-very-strong ground shaking within the next 50 years for the Lower Mainland.

“Experts tell us to expect a major earthquake in our lifetime. Pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s, built to minimum enforced design standards, might be operating for the next 50 years,” said Stendie. “It’s a recipe for disaster that the Burnaby Fire Department has condemned as unsafe.”

BROKE represents more than 820 community members firmly opposed to Kinder Morgan’s proposal, many of whom saw the consequences of a pipeline rupture in July 2007 when 250,000 litres of crude sprayed all over the community, forcing 250 residents from their homes and costing $15 million to clean-up.

“I grew up here, and as far back as I can remember, the Lower Mainland has been preparing for a major earthquake,” said Chantler. “We should be reducing – not increasing – the risks posed by a major earthquake. This pipeline and the expanded tank farm will sit like time-bombs. Kinder Morgan wants us to carry that enormous risk for no realistic benefits at all.”



Neil M.G. Chantler [Available after 11:00 AM]

Chantler & Company Barristers and Solicitors

604 424 8454

Members of BROKE can are available for comment upon request.


Larissa Stendie [Available all day]

Energy and Climate Campaigner

Sierra Club BC

250 891 8245