Hope, BC – A little over a month since since the discovery of 4000 litres of oil leaking out of the 60 year old Trans Mountain pipeline near the Coquihalla summit, local residents are taking action to visit the site and amplify the call to stop the transport of oilsands diluted bitumen through the Fraser Valley.
Pipeline owner, Kinder Morgan, has been increasing shipments of the heavy crude, which is different from conventional oil—heavier, more toxic, and requiring higher pressures and temperatures to move through the pipes. Despite the existing risks with the toxic product moving through an old pipeline, Kinder Morgan is pushing for an expansion permit to build a new pipeline to further the increase the shipments of diluted bitumen to be exported to Asian markets.
“There has been too much rhetoric by Kinder Morgan trying to convince the public that pipelines are safe, so we are going to the front lines of their operations to see for ourselves.” Comments David Ellis, organizer of the event. “Many parts of the Coquihalla canyon are steep and isolated, often inaccessible in winter. When you see the reality of the pipeline route it is clear that their promises of a ‘world class spill response’ is impossible.”
This event is organized to provide balance to the information sessions hosted by Kinder Morgan, offering an empirical perspective of the risks with transporting tar sands diluted bitumen. Also invited to the event are the Premier of British Columbia (now declined) the Prime Minister, the First Nations of the Fraser watershed, the sport and commercial fishing communities, the conservation community, and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners.
What: Educational gathering and demonstration localizing the risks of the existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. Speakers to share information followed by two mile hike to recent oil spill site in the Coquihalla Canyon. Attention will be given to the ‘Coquihalla Jump Off’ location where due to the major incline of the pipeline and resulting high pressure levels poses a high potential for a major oil spill. David Ellis will speak and technical handouts will be provided. Photo Opportunities available along the way.
When: Saturday, August 17, at 11:00 AM
Where: Coquihalla summit near the old toll booth
Who: Concerned residents from the Fraser Watershed, and Lower Mainland including:
David Ellis, Academic researcher and pipeline critic
Chief Art Adolph, Chair, Lillooet Tribal Council
Chief Archie Patrick, Stellat'en First Nation, Nadleh Bun (Fraser Lake)
Mr. Guy Dunstan, Aboriginal fisherman, Siska, B.C. (near Lytton)
Mr. Eddie Gardner, member, Skwah First Nation (Sto:lo), Coordinator, Chilliwack Feedlot Salmon Boycott
Mr. Roy Sakata, Former Commercial Salmon Fisherman, Retired School Teacher
Mr. Michael Hale, PIPE UP Network
Mr. Stan Proboszcz, Watershed Watch
11:00 - 11:20 Welcome and outline of day's events,
11:20 - 2:00 speakers, from the Fraser Watershed, and Lower Mainland
2:00: Begin hike down 2 miles to the recent oil spill site in the Coquihalla Canyon
2:20 - 2:35 Information session and photo op, at the "Coquihalla Jump Off", an area rated "Class 4, extreme" on new Kinder Morgan maps, and thus very probably the next major oil spill location; David Ellis will speak and technical handouts will be provided
2:35: Begin walk to recent spill site
2:50: Arrive at recent spill site.
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For more information or to arrange interviews:
David Ellis cell 604-916-6081
Michael Hale: 604-799-3391
The PIPE UP Network is made up of residents of southwestern BC who have come together because of our concerns about the safety, environmental, and financial implications, of shipping tar sands along Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC.
Members of the network are dedicated to educating themselves and their communities about the existing pipeline, plans for expansion, and alternatives to tar sands; showing that we have the power to make the needed changes.