Protectors face 7 days in jail after arrests at Kinder Morgan’s tank farm construction site
30 June 2018, Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Burnaby, BC): Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson was arrested today at the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm with 7 others. Despite facing potential jail time, Swanson, 75, joined Protectors to condemn Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $4.5 billion buyout of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline.
“The Order of Canada is given to people who want a better country,” said Swanson, who received her Order of Canada for working with impoverished communities in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “Spending billions of taxpayer dollars on an oil pipeline given the threat of climate change is not making Canada a better country.”
Susan Lambert, the former head of the BC Teachers Federation, was among the seven others arrested alongside Swanson. “There comes a time to look at what’s at stake for our grandchildren,” Lambert said, “I feel very responsible and it’s time to stand for what is right.”
Today’s Protectors were accompanied by Indigenous Water Protectors, streamkeepers and local residents who are concerned about the impacts of ongoing construction at the pipeline tank farm and marine terminal. Kinder Morgan construction recently released a plume of sediment into a nearby salmon-bearing creek, which is part of the Fraser River watershed.
“We’ve had a real problem here the last 5 years at the Burnaby terminal,” said streamkeeper John Preissl. “Two salmon creeks run through the Burnaby Mountain tank farm: Eagle Creek and Silver Creek, which is listed as at-risk. What we’re most concerned about is the shoddy construction work at the terminal – there were major washout issues on April 13th and in Eagle Creek on June 13th.”
After today’s initial arrests, several more people stepped up to block the gates to the Kinder Morgan facility despite the threat of jail time. 207 people have been arrested since March for contempt of court while demonstrating against the pipeline. Of those, 100 have pled guilty and 18 pled not guilty. Trials are set to continue July 30 and will stretch into the fall.
On July 14th at 10 AM PDT in Whey-ah-wichen (Cates Park, North Vancouver), Indigenous Water Protectors will host visiting canoe families and other watercraft for a water ceremony and flotilla at Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal. Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George has extended an open invitation to join her on the water in ceremony and to witness the ongoing violence being committed in the Inlet as construction continues at the tar sands tanker terminal.