20 August 2018, Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Burnaby, BC) – Trucks were lined up outside Kinder Morgan’s oil tanker terminal construction site in Burnaby this morning as five people blocked the gates. Doctors who helped organize the event spoke to the crowd of supporters about the dangers of an explosion or spill from the tank farm, as well as the indirect risks of building new fossil fuel infrastructure.
“These extreme forest fires are made much worse by climate change that is lengthening the dry season and preventing cold winters, so that the forests are having insect epidemics,” said Dr. Stephanie von Dehn, who spoke about the provincial wildfires and public health emergency associated with air quality. “Make no mistake, this Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is about doubling the size of the tar sands so that Canada will miss its Paris climate commitments and increase our carbon emissions. This will worsen climate change, accelerate extreme forest fires, and cause unthinkable effects on human health.”
Smoke from BC’s 600 wildfires shrouded Kira McLean (24), Jim Fidler (68), Brenda Morrice (57), Cynthia Nugent (64), and David Gooderham (73) as they were arrested, a stark reminder of the extended health impacts associated with climate change in the province.
“I’m here because I think this project represents an enormous public health risk, to the air and to the water, both locally and globally,” said Dr. Peter Paré, Professor Emeritus of Respiratory Medicine, UBC, St. Paul’s Hospital, who was arrested March 24. “We’re sitting here in the smoke, we can hardly see the sun and it’s the worst forest fire season in history, and that is indirectly related to taking fossil fuels out of the ground and burning it. So I felt like I had no choice but to be here, to tell that story.”
In the past few weeks, 13 people have served jail sentences for opposing Trudeau’s pipeline and tanker project. Those arrested today are expected to face up to 14 days in jail. Crown prosecutors have indicated they might recommended as much as 28 days in jail.
Today is the first in a week of bold action to stop construction on the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project. Tomorrow, Indigenous leaders including Chief Judy Wilson and Watch House guardian Will George will lead an action at the marine tanker terminal. On Wednesday, Protectors will greet Trudeau’s cabinet meeting in Nanaimo with a rally and protest.
STATEMENTS FROM ARRESTED PROTECTORS:
Jim Fidler, who travelled from Victoria to demonstrate against the pipeline: “I have grave concerns about the state of the world for my grandchildren. There are many, many issues that I have with regards to this Kinder Morgan situation, but it’s mainly about the world that we’re leaving for our grandchildren and their children.”
Kira McLean: “I’m here to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous communities who have expressed that they don’t want the Kinder Morgan pipeline to cross through their lands. As a settler and uninvited guest on this land, I feel a responsibility to stand as an ally against Kinder Morgan.”
David Gooderham, a retired litigator with 35 years experience in civil litigation: “The particular matter that has brought me here is the impact of this pipeline and oil sands expansion ultimately on climate. This pipeline will facilitate almost a doubling of oil sands production between now and 2040. It is very clear on the science and in many, many studies, including mainline organizations like the International Energy Agency, that globally we cannot keep warming within the agreed 2°C upper limit unless global oil consumption and production starts declining by 2020.”