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First Nations, BC Boaters Stop Kinder Morgan Construction

More than 60 boats with First Nations and locals lined to stage the blockaid. —Coast Protectors Facebook

Kinder Morgan, is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America specializing in owning and controlling oil and gas pipelines and terminals, received some serious pushback Saturday as protest Saturday blocked the proposed start of the tanker route for the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

In a media release, Coast Protectors said following an on-the-water blockade of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal Saturday, workers on Kinder Morgan's construction barge were forced to stop work today when more than 60 boats with First Nations and locals lined to stage the blockaid.

Coast Protectors said the boaters were protesting the start of construction at the terminal, standing in solidarity with First Nations who have not consented to the pipeline’s path through their traditional territory.

"We are here today to show that the pipeline will never be built and no tar sands tankers will be crossing these waters. The risk to our water and to this coast is too great," said Ocean Hyland, member of the Tsleil Waututh Nation.

Coast Protectors said Kinder Morgan was recently ordered to stop work by the National Energy Board for putting heavy plastic snow fences in salmon spawning streams to prevent spawning where they want to do construction. This week, a heavy chain link fence topped with razor wire appeared at nearby Lynnterm Terminal, rumoured to belong to Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan’s construction plans called for work to start on Westridge Terminal this week.

"The Prime Minister can't say he's embracing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on one hand, and then on the other hand support Kinder Morgan's risky pipeline and tanker project," said Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), Chief Councillor of Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation.

"First Nations and all British Columbians respect the wild salmon as the foundation of our ecosystem. When Kinder Morgan interferes with salmon spawning streams, how can we trust them with this land, this water? No responsible government would allow this pipeline to proceed -- so we'll do whatever it takes to stop it."

Coast Protectors said Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project is opposed by numerous First Nations and the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, which represents 150 Nations, Tribes and Bands, as well as the Province of British Columbia, the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver and twenty other municipalities, and 210,000 petition signers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved it November 19, 2016. The Federal Court of Appeal retired October 13, 2017 after the longest trial in its history to decide whether or not to quash Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet decision to approve Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project. The suit was brought by six First Nations, two environmental organizations and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, with the British Columbian government as intervenor.

The verdict is expected sometime between February and April.