On Monday March 26th at noon, opponents to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal will be taking to the streets at the Vancouver Art Gallery to demonstrate their firm stance against this project that big oil companies and the Harper government are working hard to push through.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway project would stretch twin pipelines 1,170km from Edmonton to Kitimat, expand Alberta’s tar sands by 33 per cent, bring hundreds of thousands of litres of bitumen oil through the Boreal Forest and the Great Bear Rainforest of Alberta and BC, and threaten the health of hundreds of species and waterways in its path. It would require more than 225 oil super tankers to navigate through BC’s coastal waters every year to carry tar sands oil through areas that have proven to be challenging even for ferries (which can be approximately four times smaller than the proposed supertankers), as well as a lift of the 37-year-old de facto moratorium on oil tankers on BC’s coast.
Enbridge is faced with a wall of opposition from BC First Nations, environmental groups, and citizens, because of the deep environmental and social risks involved with the proposal. The proposed route would have to cross an unbroken wall of opposition of more than 66 Indigenous groups who have been clear of their disapproval to the proposal through their signing of the Save the Fraser Declaration, stating that they “will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon.” People concerned with the environmental implications argue that it is not a matter of if there would be a catastrophic oil spill on our Pacific West coast, but when.
The rally will feature speakers such as Art Sterritt (Coastal First Nations), Bill McKibben (350.org), Dr. Riki Ott (author, former Alaskan fisher), and Ta’Kaiya Blaney (singer). As well, representatives from the Tsleil-Waututh and Heiltsuk Nations and environmental groups such as Forest Ethics, the Wilderness Committee, and Greenpeace are organizing the event and will be attending.
This No Tankers demonstration falls on the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, and spilled hundreds of thousands of crude oil into the ocean, killing billions of animals as well as devastating the marine ecosystem, coastal fisheries, tourism, and the way of life for everyone depending on the wellbeing of the surrounding area.