Two Greenpeace activists rappelled off Vancouver's iconic Lions Gate Bridge with a 12 by 35 metre “save our coast, no tar sands pipelines” banner this morning, as Western premiers meet in Edmonton to discuss tar sands. The activists hang above Burrard Inlet, which would see hundreds of supertankers per year if Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline is expanded.
“The Harper government’s assault on nature and democracy in order to fast-track tar sands pipelines will end in spills with the British Columbia coast as collateral damage,” said Greenpeace Canada Climate and Energy Campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo. “The Prime Minister can expect growing opposition to tar sands pipelines and oil supertankers from communities, environmental groups and First Nations that will not be silenced.”
The protest follows Prime Minister Harper’s recent budget bill, which plans to gut Canada’s environmental laws and fast-track the approval process for tar sands pipelines. Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline would bring over 200 oil supertankers through some of the most dangerous waters on Earth, Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin its Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline would quadruple the number of oil tankers moving through Vancouver.
The colourful banner was hung off the Lions Gate Bridge providing a dramatic view of Vancouver and the B.C. coastline. An orca is shown rising up out of an oil-slicked coast in the image that accompanies the banner's message.
Less than a month ago, Harper’s government introduced a budget implementation bill to limit environmental assessments and regulations as part of its effort to speed up the approval for the tar sands pipelines and other projects. Greenpeace opposes the gutting of Canada’s environmental laws, saying they “silence” public debate on risky projects like the pipelines.
Oil pipelines and tankers spill. Over the past decade Enbridge's own pipelines spilled, on average, more than once a week. Meanwhile residents of the Lower Mainland have suffered repeatedly due to Kinder Morgan's pipeline operations.
The tar sands are already the fastest-rising source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Enbridge's Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline alone would enable an additional 30 per cent expansion in tar sands output.
“There are better ways to create jobs and build an economy than supporting an industry that destroys land, rivers, communities, and drives climate change,’’ said Laboucan-Massimo. “We need an end to tar sands pipelines that have no place in the green energy future Canada deserves.”
Together, we can stop these tar sands pipelines.