No pipelines on stolen native land
No pipelines on stolen native land (Photo: Mark Klotz)

On May 29th, the Cana­di­an fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in Ottawa announced plans to take over the strug­gling Trans-Moun­tain Pipeline Expan­sion (TMX) project.

The orig­i­nal Trans-Moun­tain Pipeline Sys­tem (TMPL) was built in 1953 and remains the only major sys­tem in North Amer­i­can pip­ing crude oil to the West Coast.

The TMX Project, first pro­posed by Texas-based Kinder-Mor­gan in 2013, was approved by the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da in 2016 despite a lack of sup­port from the Provin­cial Gov­ern­ment of British Columbia.

The TMX is a major step back­ward in efforts to fight cli­mate change and main­tain a healthy marine ecosys­tem. It would effec­tive­ly triple the amount of oil leav­ing British Colum­bia for Puget Sound and the Pacif­ic Ocean, from 300,000 to 890,000 bar­rels of oil per day, sub­stan­tial­ly increas­ing the risk of a cat­a­stroph­ic spill and adding more dirty fos­sil fuel to the world market.

To make mat­ters worse, the TMX is slat­ed to car­ry dilut­ed bitu­men, one of the dirt­i­est forms of oil. A spill in the Sal­ish Sea would be extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to clean up and could cause irrepara­ble dam­age to the region’s orca pop­u­la­tion, along with oth­er aspects of our marine ecosystem.

As Wash­ing­ton State Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee put it: “This project runs counter to every­thing our state is doing to fight cli­mate change, pro­tect our endan­gered south­ern res­i­dent killer whales and pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties from the risks asso­ci­at­ed with increased fos­sil-fuel trans­porta­tion — by rail and by sea.”

Inslee’s oppo­si­tion has drawn the atten­tion of the Cana­di­an media.

The project has been delayed many times and there was hope, ear­li­er this year, that it might have been per­ma­nent­ly thwart­ed when Kinder-Mor­gan sus­pend­ed the bulk of its efforts to move ahead with devel­op­ment back in April.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, six weeks lat­er, the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da announced an agree­ment to bail out Kinder-Mor­gan by pur­chas­ing the TMPL and TMX with the intent to resell it by the end of the sum­mer so that work can resume. Details of that plan include a ver­i­ta­ble guar­an­teed that con­struc­tion will restart in 2018.

This sto­ry broke few­er than six weeks ago and, already, it has dis­ap­peared from the news cycle. This is under­stand­able, giv­en the con­stant flood of break­ing news in recent months. But we can­not afford to neglect the defense of our envi­ron­ment or aban­don our com­mit­ments to a clean­er ener­gy future.

If you want to learn more about the TMX and the envi­ron­men­tal risks of pump­ing and ship­ping more crude oil through North­west wilder­ness and com­mu­ni­ties, the Tsleil-Wau­tuth Nation has put togeth­er a bril­liant, com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment. You can read an overview and down­load a copy of their assess­ment from their website.

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One reply on “Salish Sea threatened by Canada’s buyout of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline”

  1. The tox­ic, tar sands have to be refined/upgraded into syn­thet­ic crude oil on the tar sands regions, before trans­port­ing, to pre­vent anoth­er Kala­ma­zoo Riv­er dis­as­ter from hap­pen­ing any­where. The tar sands con­tain ben­zene, toluene, eth­yl ben­zene and hydro­gen sulphide.

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