Follow this story of a Tar-Sands supertanker as it takes on its cargo in Burnaby and heads out through the Salish Sea to the Pacific. The City of Vancouver estimates a very real chance of a major spill during the expected lifetime of the project…if the project comes to fruition. The results could be devastating to the people and other life of our region.
Indigenous-led resistance to the Kinder Morgan tar-sands pipeline will begin March 10 in Vancouver.
From: Victoria Leistman-Sierra Club [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
(NOTE: Victoria helped organize our local Pull Together events last August in Chimacum and Port Angeles, to raise funds for the fight vs Kinder Morgan.)
Local Groups Fight Pipeline with “Pull Together” Events August 22 in Chimacum ♦ August 23 in Port Angeles ♦ August 24 in Port Townsend
Olympic Climate Action (OCA) joins with the Sierra Club, the Native Connections group of the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Port Townsend, Pull Together, and Stand with Kwantlen to present three nights of entertainment, food and speakers to educate the community about the hazards of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in British Columbia.
The pipeline, which would deliver tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to port in British Columbia, could increase oil tanker traffic in the region by 700% and would triple the amount of oil currently transorted. At 890,000 barrels a day, it would be bigger than both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Tar sands oil sinks rather than floats when spilled and would be virtually impossible to clean up. The spill threat and noise alone could devastate marine life, and the carbon released from burning this oil would compound the already dire consequences of climate change, which have brought this peninsula drought, burning rain forests and receding glaciers.
To fight this pipeline, a cross-border coalition of environmental, indigenous, and social-justice groups has formed under the name Pull Together. This name evokes the traditional canoes that generations of first peoples have used to transit the Salish Sea — the region that encompasses the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Georgia in Canada. Recognizing that the Salish Sea is a single ecosystem, groups on both sides of the border are recognizing their common interests in protecting this special place. Pull Together is raising funds for a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan based on indigenous rights to clean water, air, and land.
To help this effort, a coalition of local groups are hosting free entertainment / education / fundraising / activism events:
- August 22, 6-9 pm, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 124 Center Rd., Chimacum. A veggie/fruit tray will be provided: food and drinks will be available for purchase.
- August 23, 6-9 pm, Elwha Klallam Heritage Center, 401 E First St in Port Angeles. The event will feature Indian tacos, entertainment, and door prizes including:
- A wine basket from Harbinger Winery.
- A Storm-Tech winter jacket with the Pull Together logo.
- A framed 16 x 20 photo of the Salish Sea, printed on canvas, by art photographer Lindsey Aspelund.
- August 24, 6-9 pm, Quimper Grange in Port Townsend. Donations will go to Stand with Kwantlen, a native rights group working to build a healing lodge in the path of the pipeline.
Keynote speaker at the August 22-23 events will be Eric de Place, Policy Director with the Sightline Institute, the leading expert on fossil-fuel export proposals and the threats they pose to our region and the planet.
The program for the August 23 Port Angeles event also features:
- A special performance by the North Olympic Orca Pod.
- Vanessa Castle, Water Protector, activist and member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, will address threats to indigenous rights and sovereignty.
- Michael Foster, member of the “Valve Turners” who shut down all major tar sands pipelines on October 11, 2016, will discuss the movements individuals can join to protect the local community and counter the interventions of Big Oil, Gas, and Coal.
- Victoria Leistman, Sierra Club regional organizer who is working to stop proposed oil terminals across the region, will show the Pull Together video:
OCA hosted an event centered around the risks of oil transport in our local marine waters on July 11, 2014, featuring Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty and the film The Big Fix. Here is a slideshow from that program detailing the risks to our local marine waters and economy from proposals to expand oil export facilities in the Salish Sea.
These facilities cannot be built without passing public scrutiny, and it is important to make your voice heard. Here is a message from Laura Ackerman, Clean Air Healthy Communities Committee Chair, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter:
Big Oil sees Washington State as nothing more than a loading dock for shipping their dangerous, climate-killing products — and each new proposal puts our communities, rivers and coastline at risk. Right now, BP is fighting to increase the amount of crude oil coming in and out of the Cherry Point Refinery through the Salish Sea and on dangerous trains running through Washington communities. Luckily, a court-mandated environmental impact assessment may protect Washington from this expansion of oil traffic. Take action now to support environmental protection!
This all started in 2001, when BP built a second pier at their refinery just north of Bellingham at Cherry Point without a thorough environmental review to assess the pier’s impact and the risks to our communities and waterways. But thanks to the efforts of several environmental groups, the courts directed the Army Corps of Engineers to do the environmental assessment that should have happened over a decade ago. The draft version of this report was released in May, and now they want the public to weigh in.
Whether it’s expanding the Cherry Point Refinery or building oil export terminals at Grays Harbor or the Port of Vancouver, Big Oil’s plans for Washington mean increased danger of disastrous oil spills and even more explosive oil trains traveling through our communities. These plans are all risk and no reward for Washingtonians.
Risks of spills discussed, capped by film The Big Fix
Olympic Climate Action is sponsoring “Oil in Our Marine Waters”, an evening of education and an invitation to action regarding the burgeoning transport of oil in local marine waters, on Friday, July 11 at 7 pm in the Port Angeles City Council chambers, 321 E. 5th St.
- Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty will speak about proposed increases in oil tanker traffic and the associated risks to our communities and resources, and what our community can do to minimize these risks.
- OCA will screen the film The Big Fix, a 2012 documentary and Cannes film festival official selection, exploring the worst oil spill in U.S. history—the BP Deepwater Horizon—its causes, consequences, and cover-ups.
As our region works to cut our fossil-fuel consumption, oil companies are proposing huge shipments of toxic oil-shale and tar-sands fuel from Alberta and the American Rockies, for export through west coast ports. These proposed cargoes wouldemit far more carbon thanall the mitigation to be achieved in the entire country by improved automobile mileage standards and power plant regulations. And their transport by rail, pipeline, and ship poses risks to all communities en route, which are being asked to shoulder the risk while the profit goes to the oil companies, whose history and modus operandi are explored in detail in The Big Fix.
If all the proposed new oil port facilities in the Salish Sea region are constructed, the increase in tankers passing the Olympic Peninsula would inevitably increase the risk of spills due to rough seas, equipment failure, and human error. A large spill would cause major harm to local communities, particularly in the case of Tar Sands oil, a heavy oil that sinks in marine waters and therefore cannot be cleaned up in any practical way. Much of the increased tanker traffic will bunker (i.e., take on fuel) in Port Angeles Harbor, risking spills that could be particularly devastating to the heart of the Peninsula’s largest community—a community that is about to spend millions of dollars to cleanup this harbor from past damage and is spending even more restoring salmon habitat.
By passing its risks and costs on to the American people while pocketing the profits, the oil industry keeps oil prices artificially low and thus suppresses the development of clean energy in order to extract as much profit as it can from the ground. A recent report by Exxon explains that although oil is connected with substantial climate risks, the company nevertheless expects to extract all the oil in its reserves. But if the planet is to stay below 2°C of warming, which scientists believe is necessary to avoid catastrophicrisks for life on earth, 4/5 of the known reserves of fossil fuel will have to stay in the ground.
Olympic Climate Action advocates ending direct and hidden subsidies to fossil-fuel companies and kick-starting the inevitable transition to clean energy. A recent Stanford University-based study shows how the country could go fossil-fuel-free by 2050 and help the economy at the same time.