Kinder Morgan standoff: standing with the caretakers and residents of Burnaby Mountain

Burnaby residents and community members have been conducting a peaceful vigil on Burnaby Mountain since August to ensure that Kinder Morgan’s Mountain Pipeline geotechnical survey work will not proceed in preparation for a new TarSands bitument pipeline.

Five people have been served an injunction and a $5.6 million dollar lawsuit by Kinder Morgan. Pete McMartin from the Globe and Mail yesterday called this “Big Oil Acting as a Big Bully,” calling the lawsuit “excessive” and the protesters “martyrs.”

Both the City of Burnaby, and the City of Vancouver have voiced strong opposition to Kinder Morgan’s planned pipeline, cited polls that show widespread public disapproval.

The court hearings come days after Marc Eliesen, former head of BC-Hydro withdrew  from  the  National  Energy  Board  hearing on  the  Trans  Mountain  Expansion  Project  (TMEP). calling it a “public deception.”

Meanwhile the five who were served have posted a crowd funding site that in just 3 days, has almost reached their goal of $40,000 for legal fees, displaying a ubiquitous support for this cause.

Today, over sixty five local, national, and international groups released an open letter in support of these Burnaby and Vancouver citizens. The letter is below.

Organizer are asking more labour, environmental, First Nations and other citizens groups to sign on as endorsers here to support those who have personally sacrificed for the good of local community and in an effort to avoid global climate catastrophe.


We Stand with the Caretakers of Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion

Sixty-five community, environmental and labour groups issue open letter. Please add your support by filling in the short form at the bottom of this page.

We, the undersigned, express our support for those who are protecting Burnaby Mountain from Kinder Morgan geotechnical survey work.

Burnaby Mountain is public land (on unceded Indigenous territories) that is used frequently as a recreational area and is a designated Conservation Area.

The City of Burnaby and its residents have been vocal for several years against Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and terminal expansion proposal that would transport even more diluted bitumen and bring even more tankers to the Burrard Inlet.

Over 70% of Burnaby residents are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. (Source: Residents have been educating themselves through town halls, teach-ins and personal research and have determined that the risks to public safety and environmental degradation from Kinder Morgan’s proposal are too high. Many residents are no strangers to the harmful health impacts of tar sands crude given that the city was home to a terrible oil spill in 2007.

The City of Burnaby is currently in the process of appealing a National Energy Board decision that grants Kinder Morgan access to the designated Conservation Area. This is a critical constitutional question of whether a regulatory body can grant a corporation the authority to override municipal bylaws.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has also launched a legal challenge of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tankers project. This is the first legal challenge by a First Nation against the new pipeline and tanker proposal, citing the federal government’s failure to first consult Tsleil-Waututh on key decisions about the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.

The pipeline facilitates Tar Sands expansion on Indigenous territories along the pipeline route and at the source. This would violate numerous Aboriginal Treaty Rights and the overall well-being of these communities, many of whom have already emphatically said no to Kinder Morgan’s expansion. As the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently upheld, it is the federal government’s duty to respect these treaties, as well as the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples living on unceded lands along the pipeline route.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that community members are on Burnaby Mountain. These caretakers and residents should not be facing an injunction or a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a corporate energy giant. Given the federal government’s failure to respond to residents, to Indigenous communities at the source of Tar Sands destruction and along the proposed pipeline route, and to municipal concerns, we laud these protectors for their bravery in taking a stand against Kinder Morgan.

Initial List of Sixty-Five Signatories:

1.    Asian Youth Dialogues Collective
2.    Building Bridges-Human Rights Vancouver
3.    Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion
4.    Café Rebelde Collective
5.    Climate Convergence
6.    Coalition of South Asian Women Against Violence
7.    Colour Connected Against Racism (UBC)
8.    Connective Project
9.    Council of Canadians
10.    Defenders of the Land
11.    Delusions of Development
12.    Dogwood Initiative
13.    Forest Action Network
14.    ForestEthics Advocacy
15.    Georgia Strait Alliance
16.    Global Queer Research Group, UBC
17.    Greenpeace
18.    Heartwood Community Cafe
19.    Idle No More
20.    Latinos in Action
21.    Lead Now
22.    Left Front
23.    Living Oceans Society
24.    LopezNOCOALition
25.    Mainlander
26.    Mexicans Living in Vancouver
27.    Mi’kmaq Warrior Society
28.    Mining Justice Alliance
29.    Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment
30.    Native Youth Movement
31.    No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories
32.    Peace Alliance of Surrey
33.    PIPE UP Network
34.    Pivot Legal Society
35.    Portland Rising Tide
36.    RAGA Graduate and Undergraduate Student Network
37.    Rising Tide North America
38.    Rising Tide – Coast Salish Territories
39.    Rococode
40.    Root Force
41.    San Juans Alliance
42.    San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping
43.    Sanctuary Health
44.    Save Our Shores Gabriola
45.    Secwepemc Womens Warrior Society
46.    Shit Harper Did
47.    Sierra Club BC
48.    Social Housing Alliance
49.    South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
50.    Streams of Justice
51.    System Change Not Climate Change
52.    Toronto350 dot org
53.    Trikone Vancouver
54.    Unifor
55.    Union of BC Indian Chiefs
56.    Unist’ot’en Camp
57.    Vancouver Ecosocialists
58.    Vancouver Status of Women
59.    WaterWealth Project
60.    We Love this Coast
61.    WildCoast dot ca
62.    Wilderness Committee
63.    Wild Idaho Rising Tide
64.    Wildlife Defence League
65.    350 dot org

Additional signatories (rolling basis):

  1. Friends of the Earth International

  2. Beyond Boarding

  3. T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation

  4. Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group

  5. UFAWU-Unifor (United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union)

  6. Gabriola S-O-S

  7. March Against Monsanto – Victoria, BC

  8. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

  9. Friends of Lily Lake

  10. Wildsight

  11. Voters Taking Action on Climate Change

  12. Council of Canadians Windsor Essex Chapter

  13. Green Shelters Corporation

  14. Project Pipeline dot org

  15. Friends of the San Juans

  16. FORPA Forest Protection Allies

  17. Social & Environmental Justice Committee of Vancouver Quaker Meeting

  18. SWATT Smart Women Against Traffic Team

  19. Clayoquot Action

  20. SAFE (Students Active for the Environment – Kwantlen)

  21. Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver

  22. Chaos Faerie

  23. Raincoast Conservation Foundation

  24. Global Compliance Research Project

  25. Greenpeace – Victoria

  26. Polaris Institute

  27. System Change Not Climate Change-Dallas/Fort Worth

  28. UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

  29. SMART CHANGE (Vancouver – Victoria)

  30. Marineland Animal Defense

  31. Vancouver Community Laboratory

  32. Graphic History Collective

  33. Rainforest Action Network

  34. SFU350

  35. Talon – UBC

  36. How we Roll Longboards

  37. Canada Waking Up the Masses

  38. DaDaBaBy Enterprises

  39. Double G

  40. The Bunny Alliance

  41. Council of Canadians – South Niagara Chapter

  42. Simon Fraser Student Society

  43. Force of Nature Alliance

  44. Critical Criminology Working Group

  45. Radical Access Mapping Project

  46. ActCity Ottawa

  47. Communities and Coal
  48. Real Hearings
  49. Finavera Wind Energy Inc.
  50. Head Tax Families Society of Canada
  51. Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice
  52. Sunshine Coast Alliance for Democracy
  53. Rising Tide Seattle
  54. Dave Ivaz Music
  55. UBC Social Justice Centre
  56. Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group
  57. Climate & Capitalism
  58. Ottawa Ecosocialists
  59. Freedom Farmers
  60. Amnesty International UBC
  61. David Suzuki Foundation
  62. Indigenous Action Movement- Unceded Salish Territories
  63. Access Natural Healing Centre
  64. RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Bellingham
  65. Salish Coast LIVE!
  66. Purple Thistle
  67. Vancouver Aerial Photography
  68. The Bloom Series
  69. Searcy (AR) Parks & Recreation
  70. Silent Angels
  71. West Coast Native News
  72. Friends of the San Juans
  73. Oil Change International
  74. Global Exchange
  75. World Team Now
  76. Citizens for Sanity dot com
  77. Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd.
  78. 350 Vermont
  79. Rising Tide Toronto
  80. Awareness Film Night
  81. Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE)
  82. Socialist Alternative Vancouver
  83. Vancouver Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  84. Renew Kalamazoo
  85. Deep Green Resistance
  86. Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands

To add your group’s endorsement go here.


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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission