RELEASE: Another Tar Sands Pipeline Postponed in Major Victory for First Nations and Ecological Internet
Firm opposition by Canadian First Nation, Ecological Internet, and innumerable others delays the Northern Gateway tar sands pipelines through British Columbia temperate rainforests, threatening the native salmon economy, and onward to Asia.
Last week the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline [search] approval process - meant to transfer filthy tar sand oil from Alberta, Canada to Asia – was delayed one year until at least the end of 2013. The $5.5-billion, 1,200-kilometre double pipeline would transport up to 525,000 barrels per day of crude from Alberta’s environmentally devastating tar sands oilfields – traversing innumerable waterways, temperate rainforests, and sensitive coastal ecosystems – to ocean-going tankers for transport to Asia. The Enbridge Northern Gateway joint review panel announced the decision by email, noting “significant public interest in the Northern Gateway project.”
The pipelines would go through B.C.'s sensitive Pacific North Coast ecosystem, and threatens First Nations’ land and salmon economy. One mishap – such as project developer Enbridge’s recent broken pipeline fouling the Yellowstone River – will bring disastrous results and long-term loss of marine life, pristine waterways, and sensitive coastal ecosystems. First Nation opposition is strong and united, making clear the pipeline will never be allowed over their land, and with suggestions of massive civil disobedience if approved. The pipelines could not be constructed without breaking First Nation unity through financial inducements, or simply taking their land.
According to Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet’s President, “Tar sands are ecocide, plain and simple, and what has occurred in the Northern Gateway delay is essentially a native coup. Following indigenous peoples’ lead, the sustaining global ecology movement must contain and rollback tar sands to maintain a habitable Earth. Recent tar sand pipeline delays show clearly people power protest – whether it be being arrested outside of the White House, or protesting en masse on the Internet – works to bring about social change. The only real question is whether it will be fast enough.”
Ecological Internet has been and remains the only global action network campaigning against the Canada Northern Gateway tar sands pipelines. Over the past year, and peaking over the past few weeks, Ecological Internet’s massive and diverse network has sent nearly a quarter of a million protest emails – and rising – to the Northern Gateway joint review panel. The review panel’s decision to delay the pipeline was undoubtedly made in response to this massive opposition from First Nations supported by Ecological Internet’s global network. Our campaign continues to permanently cancel the Northern Gateway and all tar sands pipelines .
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There continues to be good and bad news in stopping the tar sands ecocide. On the same day of the Gateway pipeline delay announcement, a new tar sands production field by Total energy was approved in Ottawa. Earlier in the year, protests against the Keystone XL oil pipeline outside of the White House were successful in delaying that pipeline for an unknown period. Given that important victory, it is critical for tar sands’ continued growth that the Northern pipelines commence as soon as possible.
“Ecological Internet is thrilled to play a small part amongst such massive anti-tar sands opposition. These delays make it possible for us together to continue highlighting how clearcut mining boreal forests, fouling water and land, to transport haphazardly through important ecosystems, to be burned causing abrupt climate change is simply not acceptable. We believe that given the momentum from delaying two pipelines, the movement must reject tinkering greenwash responses, and continue to take biocentric positions that tar sand production and its transport must end. Further, the anti-tar sands movement will benefit from a variety of mutually reinforcing actors and tactics,” says Dr. Barry.