choose water not pipelines

For many, this fight is about water.

Water, that precious resource, that flows across the land just as it flows through us. We are born in it and without it we perish.

When you take a moment to think about all of your connections to water, you can slowly come to realize why so many would fight so hard to protect it.

For the Coldwater First Nation, one aquifer is their lifeline. That aquifer supplies the drinking water for 90% of the Nation. If the aquifer was polluted the Nation would be without the one thing we need to survive.

It is across that aquifer that pipeline company, Kinder Morgan, wants to build its export pipeline. This pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta (some of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive oil on Earth) across Indigenous land to Canada's west coast.

When Coldwater raised that concern, the federal government agreed:

“Coldwater could be significantly impacted from a pipeline spill as the community relies primarily on an aquifer crossed by the project for its drinking water. Coldwater members also rely on cultural foods for subsistence and are at greater risk for adverse effects from an oil spill.”

In a letter, the Government of Canada’s “Crown Consultation Lead” went even further.

Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan said the Government acknowledged that if tar sands oil or other hydrocarbons were to be accidentally discharged from the proposed pipeline, “it may be impossible to remediate a groundwater aquifer to potable standards once it has been contaminated by hydrocarbons.”

choose water not pipelines

Despite the risk of forever contaminating the lifeblood for the Coldwater Nation, the Government of Canada (with the condition that further study was needed) approved the pipeline. 

The decision was pretty crushing, especially from a Prime Minister that has said that reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples was one of his top priorities.  

“You have promised a new relationship with First Nations, founded upon respect and the principles of the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” wrote Spahan in the letter delivered to Trudeau. “You also promised that ensuring First Nations have clean drinking water is a top priority of your government. We ask you to uphold these promises.”

Despite the letter to the Prime Minister and the repeated attempts for understanding, the study has not been done and Kinder Morgan continues to try to push the pipeline forward.

That was one of the reasons ColdWater Nation was in court yesterday.

“It needs to be discussed because of the importance of our water. It’s our only source of water in our community, and it feeds the entire community.”

If built, the 1,150-kilometre Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline would cross 1,309 watercourses in Alberta and British Columbia, produce between 20 to 26 megatonnes of carbon pollution each year, and result in 400 supertankers a year coming into the Westridge Marine Terminal on Canada's west coast (near Vancouver).

Of the 120 First Nations along the pipeline route, only 39 issued letters of support for the project. The company has not secured the consent of two-thirds of potentially impacted Indigenous nations.

Stand with Coldwater First Nation against Kinder Morgan's destructive pipeline.

From the aquifers to the rivers to the Pacific Ocean this pipelines threatens, our voices can help protect them all ... and the people and wildlife that depend on them. Add your name to the pledge to resist tar sands pipelines today.