Indigenous activists are keeping a close eye on an oil spill near Barriere, B.C., days before Kinder Morgan’s so-called deadline on its $7.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion project.
On Sunday, the provincial Ministry of Environment said a flow meter leaked about 100 litres of crude oil into the ground at the Darfield Pump Station.
Crews started cleaning up the site and monitoring the area.
“The station was quickly isolated and as a precaution, the main Trans Mountain Pipeline was shut down,” a statement reads, adding crews started the pipeline just before 3:30 p.m. that day.
Kanahus Manuel, who’s spearheading the Tiny House Warriors movement in an attempt to block the pipeline, was on site during the cleanup – and plans to keep monitoring the area.
“When the pipeline spills like that on our land, if we don’t mobilize and if we don’t go there and if we don’t show our presence, then they can continue to do this and get away with it,” she said.
Kinder Morgan has threatened to back out of the expansion project by May 31 if Ottawa, B.C. and Alberta can’t come to an agreement. Meanwhile, a B.C. court quashed two legal challenges by the City of Vancouver and Squamish Nation, but a number of other lawsuits are still pending.
Meanwhile, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May pleaded guilty to criminal contempt after she protested at the Kinder Morgan construction site, violating a B.C. court injunction. She must pay a $1,500 fine.
“I made a promise to the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueum First Nations that I would stand with them in opposing this disastrous pipeline and tanker project,” she said in a press release. “To keep that promise, I made the choice to undertake an act of civil disobedience. I knew the consequences and, in pleading guilty today, I accept the consequences of my actions.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated that his government is “going to get this pipeline built,” but offered no news on the matter days before Kinder Morgan’s deadline.
“We continue to engage in financial discussions on the way we are going to do that,” he said. “When we have something to announce you can be sure we will announce it.”
Until then, Kinder Morgan has stopped all non-essential spending on the pipeline expansion project that will triple the flow of diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Vancouver.
Manuel is preparing for a battle this week, as she expects the federal government will manage to greenlight the project.
“They’re going to go full force,” she said. “They want to see this pipeline completed.
And we’ll do whatever it takes to stop it and block it.
With Files from the Canadian Press