Greenpeace occupies Enbridge office in downtown Vancouver

Feature story - July 28, 2010
Greenpeace activists are occupying Enbridge’s office in downtown Vancouver, demanding the pipeline giant withdraw its Northern Gateway Pipelines application. The action comes two days after an Enbridge pipeline running from Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ont. spilled more than three million litres of crude oil into a creek leading to the Kalamazoo River in southwest Michigan.

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With oil collected in the Gulf of Mexico, activists wrote on the glass door to the office and held a banner that reads: “ENBRIDGE: NO PIPELINE, NO TANKERS.”

Outside the office tower, Greenpeace is in the process of establishing a protest camp where activists will lock themselves inside a cargo vehicle. A mock pipeline is being constructed that will spew oil onto a large image that represents B.C.’s coastal Great Bear Rainforest, while a “cleanup” crew will warn people of the dangers of Enbridge’s project. A banner reading “Picture this on B.C.’s coast” will be raised.

“Enbridge is poised to become the BP of B.C.,” Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace B.C. director, said from inside the protest camp. “If Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipelines project goes ahead, it’s not a question of if a spill will happen, but when, where and how large. Greenpeace is taking action today to ensure B.C.’s beautiful coast doesn’t face the same fate as the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Canadian government is considering a proposal from Enbridge to build twin 1,170-kilometre pipelines from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat in northern B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, bringing more than 200 crude oil tankers annually through treacherous shipping lanes to the region. The federal government’s review process has started and Greenpeace is urging people to send letters directly to the government and Enbridge to voice their opposition to the project. Pipeline company Kinder Morgan also has a long-term plan to expand its oil pipeline capacity to its southern port in Burnaby, more than doubling its current oil tanker traffic through the Georgia Strait.

“The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has devastated communities, wildlife and ecosystems. The only way to make sure B.C. doesn’t become the next ground zero for a major oil spill is for the Canadian government to legally ban oil tanker traffic from the West Coast,” said Goodwin, who visited the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month. “The proposed Enbridge oil highway represents an approach to energy that has passed its expiry date: high risk, few jobs and little value for B.C. communities.”

In addition to its demand that oil tankers be banned, Greenpeace is calling for measures to help end the world’s addiction to oil, including an immediate ban on new offshore drilling and exploration of all high-risk unconventional oil sources, including in the Arctic and tar sands. Greenpeace is also urging an end to fossil fuel subsidies, increased support for clean energy and strong policies that limit global warming pollution and stimulate a clean energy revolution.

Take Action

You can help us stop the Northern Gateway by voicing your opposition to Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

You can also get involved by participating in the Coast is Clear Photo Contest. Reflect on the beauty of B.C.’s coast and what would be lost in an oil spill by submitting a photo you took of the coast and a few words on what it means to you and why it’s important to protect. The winning photo will be used in Greenpeace’s Coast is Clear campaign and will be published in the autumn edition of Greenpeace Magazine.