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Reaction to the Trans Mountain pipeline decision, pro and con

In reaction to the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline across southern B.C., environmentalists say they will organize mass protests and are considering legal action.
Northern Gateway-Trans Mountain-Line 3

In reaction to the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline across southern B.C., environmentalists say they will organize mass protests and are considering legal action. But the pipeline also has supporters in the province. Here’s a sampling of reaction to the Trans Mountain announcement.


Dan Lewis, executive director of Clayoquot Action, said he expects the scale of protests against Trans Mountain to set new records. Lewis helped to organize mass protests to protect the temperate rainforest in Clayoquot Sound against logging in 1993.“The protests in Clayoquot were the biggest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history. My expectation is that the Kinder Morgan protests will dwarf that,” Lewis said. Clayoquot Action will launch a series of training session on non-violent direct action, beginning after the holiday season.


Chris Genovali, executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, said the decision means the probable extinction of the southern resident killer whales. As interveners in the National Energy Board review of the proposal, Raincoast submitted scientific evidence detailing adverse effects on the orcas, Fraser River salmon and Salish Sea. “Even without oil spills, the additional noise from Kinder Morgan tanker traffic increases the risk of extinction to already imperilled southern residents. We are considering our options, including additional legal action.


Lisa Helps, Victoria’s mayor, said she hopes Trudeau is right and that enough safety precautions will be taken to prevent a spill on the coast. “It’s obviously disappointing. It’s disappointing for Victoria, it’s disappointing for British Columbia and I think it’s disappointing for many Canadians who really don’t think that you can be a climate action leader at the same time that you approve pipelines,” she said.

Continuing to invest in fossil fuel extraction is a step backward, when green jobs and the information economy offer more promise, she said.


Mike Hicks, regional director for Juan de Fuca, said he was disheartened, despite the addition of tug escorts to the Trans Mountain plan. “Today’s announcement means the odds just went up that we’re going to have a spill. And in my capacity as a West Coaster and a regional director for Juan de Fuca, I’ll do everything I can to persuade the federal government to be really vigilant to prevent this happening.”


Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green Party leader and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, said Trudeau broke his commitment to the Paris Agreement by approving Line 3 and Trans Mountain. “The Paris Agreement is very clear. If we want to keep warming below two degrees, there can be no new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure that will last for decades to come.”


David Eby, NDP MLA representing Vancouver-Point Grey, said federal approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is a “disaster” from the perspective of his constituents. “It was the wrong decision of the provincial government to hand over control of this decision to the federal government because they don’t have our priorities on the Lower Mainland and the economic development of the Lower Mainland at heart,” he said. “A major spill would wipe out our tourism industry here and would have huge impact on clean energy and tech industry here. I simply don’t understand why we would take a risk like this.”

Eby said Premier Christy Clark, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, is in a difficult position. “She hasn’t been clear about what her position is on this pipeline,” he said.


Ian Black, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, praised the approval, saying the project will generate more than $1 billion in construction spending and create thousands of high-paying jobs. “Our organization applauds the federal government for approving this project, which has undergone a comprehensive scientific and technical assessment and is subject to conditions that will ensure it is built to the highest safety and environmental standards,” he said in a statement.


Phil Venoit, president of Vancouver Island Building Trades, pointed out that oil plays a role in many parts of the economy, from heating fuel and gasoline to toothbrushes, food containers and components for electric cars. “Oil is still the lifeblood of Canada’s economy,” he said in a statement. “Knowing full well that the oil will flow one way another, Ottawa needs to ensure that it is done in a manner which best protects Canada’s environment and its citizens. With that key point in mind the only realstic decision is to say yes to these pipelines.”


Ian Anderson, Kinder Morgan Canada president and CEO, said he is looking forward to building the pipeline. “This decision follows many years of engagement and the presentation of the very best scientific, technical and economic information,” he said in a statement. “We are excited to move forward and get this project built, for the benefit of our customers, communities and all Canadians.”


— Compiled by Amy Smart, Lindsay Kines and The Canadian Press