Burnaby residents and community members have been conducting a peaceful vigil on Burnaby Mountain since August to ensure that Kinder Morgan's Mountain Pipeline geotechnical survey work will not proceed in preparation for a new tar sands bitumen pipeline.
Five people have been served an injunction and a $5.6-million lawsuit by Kinder Morgan. Pete McMartin from the Globe and Mail on Monday called this "Big Oil Acting as a Big Bully," calling the lawsuit "excessive" and the protesters "martyrs."
Both the City of Burnaby, and the City of Vancouver have voiced strong opposition to Kinder Morgan's planned pipeline, citing polls that show widespread public disapproval.
The court hearings come days after Marc Eliesen, former head of BC Hydro withdrew from the National Energy Board hearing on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), calling it a "public deception."
Meanwhile the five who were served have posted a crowdfunding site that in just 3 days has almost reached their goal of $40,000 for legal fees, displaying a ubiquitous support for this cause.
On Tuesday, over 65 local, national, and international groups released an open letter in support of these Burnaby and Vancouver citizens. The letter is below.
Organizers are asking more labour, environmental, First Nations and other citizens groups to sign on as endorsers here to support those who have personally sacrificed for the good of local community and in an effort to avoid global climate catastrophe.
We Stand with the Caretakers of Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion
Sixty-five community, environmental and labour groups issue open letter. Please add your support by filling in the short form at the bottom of this page.
We, the undersigned, express our support for those who are protecting Burnaby Mountain from Kinder Morgan geotechnical survey work.
Burnaby Mountain is public land (on unceded Indigenous territories) that is used frequently as a recreational area and is a designated Conservation Area.
The City of Burnaby and its residents have been vocal for several years against Kinder Morgan's $5.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and terminal expansion proposal that would transport even more diluted bitumen and bring even more tankers to the Burrard Inlet.
Over 70 per cent of Burnaby residents are opposed to Kinder Morgan's expansion. Residents have been educating themselves through town halls, teach-ins and personal research and have determined that the risks to public safety and environmental degradation from Kinder Morgan’s proposal are too high. Many residents are no strangers to the harmful health impacts of tar sands crude given that the city was home to a terrible oil spill in 2007.
The City of Burnaby is currently in the process of appealing a National Energy Board decision that grants Kinder Morgan access to the designated Conservation Area. This is a critical constitutional question of whether a regulatory body can grant a corporation the authority to override municipal bylaws.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has also launched a legal challenge of Kinder Morgan's pipeline and tankers project. This is the first legal challenge by a First Nation against the new pipeline and tanker proposal, citing the federal government's failure to first consult Tsleil-Waututh on key decisions about the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.
The pipeline facilitates Tar Sands expansion on Indigenous territories along the pipeline route and at the source. This would violate numerous Aboriginal Treaty Rights and the overall well-being of these communities, many of whom have already emphatically said no to Kinder Morgan's expansion. As the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently upheld, it is the federal government’s duty to respect these treaties, as well as the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples living on unceded lands along the pipeline route.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that community members are on Burnaby Mountain. These caretakers and residents should not be facing an injunction or a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a corporate energy giant. Given the federal government's failure to respond to residents, to Indigenous communities at the source of Tar Sands destruction and along the proposed pipeline route, and to municipal concerns, we laud these protectors for their bravery in taking a stand against Kinder Morgan.
Initial List of Sixty-Five Signatories: Add your organization at bottom of this page.
1. Asian Youth Dialogues Collective
2. Building Bridges-Human Rights Vancouver
3. Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion
4. Café Rebelde Collective
5. Climate Convergence
6. Coalition of South Asian Women Against Violence
7. Colour Connected Against Racism (UBC)
8. Connective Project
9. Council of Canadians
10. Defenders of the Land
11. Delusions of Development
12. Dogwood Initiative
13. Forest Action Network
14. ForestEthics Advocacy
15. Georgia Strait Alliance
16. Global Queer Research Group, UBC
18. Heartwood Community Cafe
19. Idle No More
20. Latinos in Action
21. Lead Now
22. Left Front
23. Living Oceans Society
26. Mexicans Living in Vancouver
27. Mi’kmaq Warrior Society
28. Mining Justice Alliance
29. Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment
30. Native Youth Movement
31. No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories
32. Peace Alliance of Surrey
33. PIPE UP Network
34. Pivot Legal Society
35. Portland Rising Tide
36. RAGA Graduate and Undergraduate Student Network
37. Rising Tide North America
38. Rising Tide - Coast Salish Territories
40. Root Force
41. San Juans Alliance
42. San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping
43. Sanctuary Health
44. Save Our Shores Gabriola
45. Secwepemc Womens Warrior Society
46. Shit Harper Did
47. Sierra Club BC
48. Social Housing Alliance
49. South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
50. Streams of Justice
51. System Change Not Climate Change
52. Toronto350 dot org
53. Trikone Vancouver
55. Union of BC Indian Chiefs
56. Unist'ot'en Camp
57. Vancouver Ecosocialists
58. Vancouver Status of Women
59. WaterWealth Project
60. We Love this Coast
61. WildCoast dot ca
62. Wilderness Committee
63. Wild Idaho Rising Tide
64. Wildlife Defence League
65. 350 dot org
Additional signatories (rolling basis):
66. Friends of the Earth International
67. Beyond Boarding
68. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation
69. Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
70. UFAWU-Unifor (United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union)
71. Gabriola S-O-S
72. March Against Monsanto - Victoria, BC
73. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
75. Friends of Lily Lake
77. Voters Taking Action on Climate Change
78. Council of Canadians Windsor Essex Chapter
79. Green Shelters Corporation
80. Project Pipeline dot org
81. Friends of the San Juans
82. FORPA Forest Protection Allies
83. Social & Environmental Justice Committee of Vancouver Quaker Meeting
84. SWATT Smart Women Against Traffic Team
85. Clayoquot Action
86. SAFE (Students Active for the Environment - Kwantlen)
87. Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver
88. Chaos Faerie
89. Raincoast Conservation Foundation
90. Global Compliance Research Project
91. Greenpeace - Victoria
92. Polaris Institute
93. System Change Not Climate Change-Dallas/Fort Worth
94. UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
95. SMART CHANGE (Vancouver - Victoria)
96. Marineland Animal Defense
97. Vancouver Community Laboratory
98. Graphic History Collective
99. Rainforest Action Network
101. Talon - UBC
102. How we Roll Longboards
103. Canada Waking Up the Masses
104. DaDaBaBy Enterprises
105. Double G
106. The Bunny Alliance
107. Council of Canadians - South Niagara Chapter
108. Simon Fraser Student Society
109. Force of Nature Alliance
110. Critical Criminology Working Group
111. Radical Access Mapping Project
112. ActCity Ottawa
113. Communities and Coal
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