Assessment of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Proposal

Reconciliation in Action: One Year After Burnaby Mountain

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015, 12-8pm. Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 East Hastings, Vancouver.
Presented by the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust, UBCIC, and many allied organisations, join us for a day of learning and celebration to mark the one-year anniversary of the Burnaby Mountain mobilization. This is a day for learning about “reconciliation in action.” We celebrate our victories and strengthen our Indigenous and settler alliances in preparation for the ongoing work of stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

Register for the event here Optional registration at the door.


12:30pm Coast Salish Protocol – introductory panel
Khelsilem (Squamish), Cecilia Point (Musqueam), Charlene Aleck (Tsleil-Waututh).

1:30pm PANEL: Lessons from Burnaby Mountain – panel and dialogue. Panelists: Ruth Walmsley, Audrey Siegl (Musqueam), Harsha Walia, and Kaleb Morrison. Moderated by Stephen Collis.

2:45 Break

3:00 PANEL: Kinder Morgan & Tarsands Opposition – survey of local & global campaigns including upcoming NEB hearings, Tsleil-Waututh legal case against Canada, shareholder action, East/West Indigenous Alliance against tar-sands pipelines, Road to Paris COP21. With Eugene Kung (West Coast Environmental Law), John Konovsky (Tsleil-Waututh), Rueben George (Tsleil-Waututh). Moderator: Carleen Thomas (Tsleil-Waututh).

4:00 PANEL: From the Frontlines – Indigenous Communities Panel reporting from Brandon Gabriel (Kwantlen), Jewell James (Lummi), Chief Bill Williams (Squamish). Moderator: Chief Bob Chamberlin, VP, UBCIC

5:30 Dinner service

6:15-8:00pm Evening Program with SPEAKERS: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (UBCIC), Ta’ah Amy George (Tsleil-Waututh), Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree).
ARTISTS: Children of Takaya (Tsleil-Waututh), Buckman Coe, Adham Shaikh, Ronnie Dean Harris, Corinna Keeling, Rita Wong, and Eileen Kage.

ARTISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS please send in your images or dropbox links to <> for the multimedia presentation! We welcome jpgs and still images and videos via dropbox or email.

If you would like to volunteer do get in touch with Heidi Martin <> as we are inviting people for the production, food preparation, and outreach support. Thank you!

A fatally flawed process: TWN takes to the courts to challenge KMX, NEB and Canada

“Yesterday, the vast majority of Canadians voted to stop this practice of rushing through pipeline and tanker projects without a credible environmental assessment and without respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

TWN filed the appeal in May 2014, shortly after the NEB issued a series of decisions that defined the nature and scope of their public review process. It argues that Crown failed to fulfill its obligations to consult with TWN in the design of the review process. It also asserts that the NEB failed to recognize TWN as a jurisdiction with its own Indigenous legal authority and assessment of the proposal. The result is that the NEB is not fully evaluating the impact of the proposal on TWN title, rights, and interests.

“We are committed to stopping Kinder Morgan – not just for our children, but for everyone who lives around the Salish Sea. We will fight them in the courtrooms, in the boardroom, on the streets and on the water.”

This risky and dangerous project must be stopped. Stand with TWN and support our lawsuit.

Federal Court of Appeal, Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 9:30am at Georgia & Granville.
RSVP to the court day on Facebook


Tsleil-Waututh Asks National Energy Board To Throw Out Kinder Morgan’s Improper New Evidence

Failure to do so risks undermining the entire hearing process

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. and MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH & TSLEIL-WAUTUTH TERRITORY; September 9, 2015.  The Tsleil-Waututh Nation filed a motion with the National Energy Board (NEB) yesterday asking it to throw out all the reply evidence Kinder Morgan submitted on August 20th to support its Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion proposal.

Kinder Morgan’s unusual manoeuver of filing thousands of pages of new evidence in dozens of new reports at a very late stage in the review process ignores NEB procedures.  It has also created a fundamentally unfair situation that risks undermining the entire hearing process.  Without NEB intervention, Kinder Morgan’s new evidence will not be tested and Tsleil-Waututh (and other intervenors) will not have the opportunity to file responding evidence.

“We have always considered the NEB hearing unfair and extremely flawed,” said Chief Maureen Thomas.  “Tsleil-Waututh is seriously concerned that if our motion is not granted, the NEB will end up making a recommendation on the expansion proposal based on an incomplete record that contains false, misleading, and untested information, and the federal cabinet will rely on it.”

Kinder Morgan’s new evidence attempts to challenge the independent Tsleil-Waututh Assessment of the expansion proposal (see and the six expert reports behind it.  If the NEB does not strike the new information from the hearing record, or does not at least provide Tsleil-Waututh the opportunity to reply, the NEB will not have the information necessary to draw accurate conclusions about the likelihood of oil spills, the likely success of spill clean-up, and the environmental consequences of a major spill.

Tsleil-Waututh has repeatedly called the NEB review of the expansion proposal “deeply flawed”, and has filed a lawsuit against the NEB for improper scoping of the review.  Oral arguments in that case are scheduled for October 27th at the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

A similar request has been made by the City of Burnaby.  In a September 4th letter, Burnaby asked the NEB to cancel the hearing and start all over again “in order to cure what the Board [NEB] has referred to as ‘concerns about the integrity of this hearing process.’”

If approved, Kinder Morgan’s expansion would see the transport of diluted bitumen tripled, creating a seven-fold increase in oil tankers moving through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea.  Such an increase makes pipeline leaks, tanker accidents or incidents, and oil spills inevitable.

A serious oil spill in Burrard Inlet would devastate an already-stressed marine environment and risks causing a catastrophic environmental collapse.  It could pollute up to 25 km of beaches and shoreline, kill up to half a million birds, sicken up to one million residents, and eliminate any chance of future environmental recovery.  If the spill were diluted bitumen, it is likely to sink polluting the bottom of the inlet for decades.

Our Shared Responsibilities Totem Pole Journey Film & Community Dinner

The 2015 totem pole journey, led by Master Carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation’s House of Tears Carvers will be arriving at Tsleil-Waututh August 21-22. The Pole Blessing and Kick-off the tour in Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver) takes place during 2 events:

EVENT 1 – Solidarity Film Night: Friday Aug 21, 6-9:00pm Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, 1803 E 1st Ave, Vancouver. (1 block east of 1st & Commercial). 6-7pm, Community Dinner, By donation.
7-9pm Screening a film documentary by Freddy Lane of the Lummi Nation and Sierra Club about the 2014 “Our Shared Responsibility” journey through the Pacific Northwest. There will be a discussion with Jewell James (Lummi) and Rueben George (Tsleil-Waututh) following the film. Venue sponsor: Grandview Calvary Baptist Church.

EVENT 2 – Pole Blessing: Saturday, Aug 22, 10am-1pm, Tsleil-Waututh Community Centre, 3010 Sleil Waututh Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7H 2V5
10-12noon – 2015 Totem Pole Journey arrival and ceremony outdoors;
12-1pm, Lunch in Community Centre. Free.


Please join the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust and Wilderness Committee in supporting this year’s journey. Each year for the past two years, Indigenous carvers have transported their totem poles thousands of miles to raise public awareness and strengthen opposition to the export of fossil fuels from the west coast of the United States and Canada.

Working in close association with other tribal governments, environmental organizations as well as the faith-based community, these efforts have helped shape the public debate and understanding of what is at risk with the proposed fossil fuel exports. These journeys have reached millions of people through the mainstream and social media. The 2015 journey (August 21-August 31) comes at a defining moment in our collective effort to defeat these fossil fuel export proposals.

The 2015 Our Shared Responsibilities Totem Pole Journey

Unlike previous journeys the 2015 journey will focus events in places of worship and in key tribal communities. Pope Francis, in his recent 184-page papal encyclical Laudato Si, issued a sweeping condemnation of the “relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness.” The central theme of his message was “our shared responsibilities” to the Creation and to each other. This is also the theme of the 2015 totem pole, and one that goes to the heart of opposition to the proposed extraction, transport and storage of fossil fuels in the Pacific Northwest. We will be holding events at places of worship during the journey to build on this interdenominational message of our shared responsibilities in the faith-based community.

We will also be stopping in major urban areas (Spokane and Portland) and are planning for events in Vancouver and with Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust, Bellingham, Seattle Area (Tulalip), Longview, Celilo Falls, Yakama, and, finally, the Northern Cheyenne reservation. The journey is scheduled to end in the territory of the Northern Cheyenne whose sacred lands would be devastated by the proposed coal mine. We must raise a total of $29,791 before the departure date of August 21, 2015, so please consider stepping up to support this powerful journey.
totem pole journey 2014 cover image

KINDER MORGEN | CHILDREN OF TOMORROW | steʔəxʷəɬ ʔə ƛ̓ wə weyələs

An exhibition of new work by Nancy Bleck (Slanay Sp’ak’wus) in collaboration with the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust.

New photographic works by Nancy Bleck created in collaboration with the Tsleil Waututh Nation are on view at the Seymour Art Gallery from August 12 – September 12, 2015.

Kinder Morgen in the German language directly translates as ‘Children Tomorrow’, and artist Nancy Bleck calls up this meaning alongside the name ‘Kinder Morgan’ as an energy corporation.
Says Bleck: “I am grateful to the Tsleil Waututh people I have come to know, and I am honoured to contribute through photography and in the larger work of learning how to become better stewards of where we live through their strong example.”

Through her exhibition, titled in part “Kinder Morgen”, which in the German language directly translates into English as ‘Children Tomorrow,’ Bleck ironically makes reference to the Texas-based energy corporation, and includes this same phrase for Children of Tomorrow in the Tsleil Waututh language — steʔəxʷəɬ ʔə ƛ̓ wə weyələs — as a way to align with the indigenous cultural world-view of how things get done, always with an eye toward the seven generations yet unborn. And of course, Kinder Morgan’s local facility is in full view from the Community and is on Tsleil Waututh lands.

Hay ce:p q̓ə si:y̓em̓, Councillor Charlene Aleck, Ts’simtelot, of the Tsleil Waututh Nation says: “Over the past 4-5 years Tsleil Waututh has been consistent with our message to big corporations doing business in our traditional territory. We have been stewards of our land and water since time out of mind and that has sustained for decades! We want our voice to be heard, our story to be told. In joining Nancy Bleck (Slanay Sp’ak’wus) gives us a beautiful opportunity to do just that!”

Through panoramic photographs intercepted with portraits of community members, Bleck, also known by her Coast Salish adopted name, Slanay Sp’ak’wus, considers the local waters of the Burrard Inlet and the Tsleil Waututh cultural practice of stewardship. This collaborative project asks visitors to consider how a vision of sustainability can be practiced across cultures, across generations, and over time.

As part of the show, a 10-minute sound piece was created in collaboration with Métis-Cree media artist Kamala Todd, in conversation with Tsleil Waututh elders Deanna George and Ernest George, speaking to the youth of today.

Says Todd: “Having grown up in beautiful Coast Salish territory, I have learned so many stories, and I am so grateful to live here. Tsleil Waututh people have taught me so much about our responsibilities to the land and waters. My family and I stand with the Tsleil Waututh Nation in their commitment to protecting this place for all.”
Bleck adds: “We have something so precious here on the coast worth taking a stand for and that is the wealth and health of the waterways and lands. The Tsleil Waututh culture and governance inspires me; they’re like a bright light in dark times and shows us a way forward.”

About the Artist

Nancy Bleck (Slanay Sp’ak’wus): Born in 1969, Toronto, Canada | Daughter of immigrants from Berlin, Germany. Nancy Bleck’s interests in contemporary photography and social practice are informed by feminist philosophy, sustainable and indigenous cultures.
Co-founder of the Uts’am/Witness project (1997-2007), Bleck was adopted by the Squamish Nation with the name ‘Slanay Sp’ak’wus’ in 2001 |Recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction award in the category of Arts, Culture and Design (2007) | A hardcover book titled ‘Picturing Transformation, Newx-ayanstut’, showcasing her photography over fifteen years, (Figure 1 Publishing, 2013)| She holds a BFA, (Emily Carr University), MA in Fine Art (MaHKU, The Netherlands), and is an educator at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, BC, Canada | Nancy has worked in the field of visual arts in cities worldwide including, Toronto, Berlin, Prague, Utrecht, and currently, Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish lands.
Kinder Morgen postcard front_Page_2

Kinder Morgen postcard front_Page_1

You Are Invited! All Nations Festival: July 23-25


All Nations Festival is a three-day celebration of Coast Salish culture, art, language, and identity, occurring from July 23 – 25, 2015 in Kwikwetlem (Coquitlam) on Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) traditional territory. The TWN Sacred Trust has been working with Kwikwetlem Nation and the Coquitlam School District Aboriginal Education to bring this to life. (The School District serves much of the traditional Tsleil-Waututh Territory, including Belcarra, Anmore, Port Moody and the TriCity region.)

Click on this image to view a full schedule of events for the All Nations Festival

Click on this image to view a schedule of events for the All Nations Festival

The Festival aims to highlight and promote Coast Salish culture and showcases artists, musicians, and cultural leaders inviting people of all ages and backgrounds. The traditional territory suffers from an absence of Indigenous cultural presence, and so this project both honours the history of Coast Salish people, but is a rallying cry to protect the lands and waters we share. It is noteworthy that the Kinder Morgan pipeline travels through Kwikwetlem First Nation and City of Coquitlam before it reaches a wall of opposition in Burnaby and TWN. We hope to raise awareness of the amazing ways Coast Salish people are impacting the culture and environment in their Unceded Territory.


  • George Leach Live in Concert with his full band! FREE for TWN members!
    DATE & LOCATION: Thursday, July 24, 8pm | Evergreen Cultural Centre
    DETAILS: George Leach is a 2014 JUNO Award winning blues and rock recording artist from the Kwikwetlem and Stl’atl’imx Nation. He quickly became a fan favourite after the release of his debut album Just Where I’m At in 2000. His follow up album, Surrender, is the result of 13 years of living, learning, trial, error, falling and getting up, winning and losing, breaking up, making up, and writing through it all. The album’s 11 tracks offer ample proof that the time was well spent. Opening artist Steven Point, former Lieutenant Governor for British Columbia and respected Sto:lo leader picks up his guitar to share stories, and start up this special Opening Night Concert. Free tickets for TWN and Kwikwetlem members.
  • Lee Maracle: An Evening of Coast Salish Storytelling

DATE & LOCATION: Friday, July 24, 7.30pm | Evergreen Cultural Centre

DETAILS: An evening of ideas and spoken word from one of the foremost experts in Coast Salish history and culture.

TICKETS: FREE for TWN members.

  • Free Outdoor Music Stages at Town Centre Park.
    DATES: Friday July 24, 5-9pm: The Funk Hunters, Inez.

Saturday, July 25, 12nooon-9pm: DJ Hedspin, Ostwelve, Bill Henderson (Chilliwack), Doug & The Slugs, Keliya, and many more! FREE! No tickets required.

  • Green Fair, Electric Cars, Solar Displays, Dragonfly Kids Area & Artisans
    DATE & LOCATION: Saturday July 25, 12noon – 9pm | Lafarge Lake
    : Enjoy our interactive creative stations for kids… and adults! Make stuff, learn about plants and animals, discover green energy, get involved defending Coast Salish Territory, and view the work of Coast Salish artists! Contact Dawnda Joseph ( for a free space for TWN members.
  • ACTIVE! Concrete Park DJs & Sports
    DATE: Saturday July 25, 1pm – 6pm
    LOCATION: Town Centre Park & Main Stage
    : DJs, hiphop, skateboarding, basketball 3-on-3s, ball hockey games! Featuring DJ Hedspin, winner of the 2011 Red Bull Thre3Style World Championship.
  • Coast Salish Lacrosse Showcase
    DATE & LOCATION: Saturday July 25, 5pm – 9pm | Town Centre Park
    : Run by professional Lacrosse players, this introductory, youth-oriented Lacrosse Camp (5-7pm) and invitational game (7-9pm) is going to be exciting to participate in and watch!



Thursday, July 23, 2015 Douglas College, Coquitlam

Registration / Coffee [8:30]

Opening Plenary: Welcoming Ceremony [9:30]

  • MC: Ronnie Dean Harris
  • Ed Hall (Elected Councillor, Kwikwetlem First Nation)
  • Charlene Aleck (Elected Councillor, Tsleil-Waututh First Nation)
  • Dave Seaweed (Aboriginal Coordinator, Douglas College)
  • Lee Maracle (Stó:lō / University of Toronto)

The Archeological History of Coast Salish Territory [10:30 AM]

  • Michael Wilson (Douglas College) –– The Archaeology of Early Sites in Coast Salish Territory
  • Terence Clark (Canadian Museum of History) –– The Last Five Years of the shíshálh Archaeological Research Project
  • Eric McLay (UVic) –– Clam Gardens of the Southern Gulf Islands and Southeastern Vancouver Island, B.C.
  • Chris Arnett (UBC) –– They Dream It and Write It: Rock Art of the Salish
  • Rudy Reimer/Yumks (Squamish/SFU) –– Indigenous Voices in the Wild Archaeology Documentary Series of Northwest Coast and Canada

Q&A / Discussion

LUNCH [12:30 PM]

Coast Salish Culture as Medicine [1:30 PM]

  • A walking tour with Cease Wyss

Coast Salish Archaeology for Today: It’s Contemporary Relevance [1:30 PM]

  • Bill Angelbeck (Douglas College) –– Warfare and Defense of Coast Salish Territory: Learning from Alliances in the Past through Archaeology and Oral Histories
  • Colin Grier (Washington State U) –– Why Coast Salish History Matters: Archaeology, Human Diversity and the Pursuit of Sustainability
  • Natasha Lyons (Ursus Heritage) and David M. Schaepe (Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre) –– The Making of the Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum of Canada Website [co-authored with Kate Hennessey (SFU), and Colin Pennier (Scowlitz)]
  • George Nicholas (SFU) –– Protection through Intervention: An Activist Approach to Safeguarding Coast Salish Heritage Sites and Burial Grounds
  • David M. Schaepe (Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre) –– Archaeology as Therapy: Connecting Objects, Knowledge, Time and Place to Community Health [co-authored with Bill Angelbeck, John R. Welch, and David Snook]

Q&A / Discussion

Keynote Speaker [4:00 PM]

  • Bruce Granville Miller (UBC): What’s Changed in the Coast Salish World Over 40 Years? One Person’s View

Next Steps Dialogue [5:00 PM]

  • Topic: Advancing Coast Salish Arts and Culture



  • George Leach (Evergreen Cultural Centre) joined for a few songs by Steven Point.


Friday, July 24, 2015 Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam

Opening Session: Shared Environmental Stewardship [10:30 AM]

  • Tsleil-Waututh First Nation’s Landmark Environmental Assessment: Working Across Jurisdictions

Role of Responsive Art [11:30 AM]

  • Facilitated by Columpa Bobb (Stó:lō)

LUNCH [12:00 PM]

Coast Salish Identity with Art, Language, and Land [1:00 PM]

  • Ronnie Dean Harris (Coast Salish) on Coast Salish Artists and Identity
  • Neil Miller (Penelakut): Coast Modern Perspectives on Identity and Mental Health
  • Joan Brown (Snuneymuxw) –– nuts’uwuts sxwi’em’ –– One Hundred New Hul’q’umi’num’ Stories
  • Dustin Rivers (Squamish) on Cultural Leadership Across the Generations, Past and Future
  • Larry Commodore (Stó:lō) on The Importance of Protecting Salmon
  • Debra Sparrow (Musqeam) Wool Weaving

Q&A / Discussion

Roundtable: Preserving Coast Salish Languages [3:30 PM]

  • Victor Guerin (Musqueam)
  • Kalila George-Wilson (Tsleil-Waututh)
  • Gabriel George (Tsleil-Waututh)

Transforming Settler Cultural Institutions In Our Territories [3:30 PM]

  • Amir Alibhai (Aga Khan Foundation, Toronto) on Institutions, Funders, and Cross-Cultural Dialogue.
  • Jamie Yard (Douglas College) –– Free Knowledge: The Potential for Popular Education Projects in Communities on Aboriginal Rights and Title
  • Irwin Oostindie (All Nations Festival) –– Shifting Arts Policy in Coast Salish Territory

Q&A / Discussion

Next Steps Dialogue [4:45PM]

  • Topic: Advancing Dialogue for a Coast Salish Cultural Network


Colloquium Keynote [5:30PM]

  • Lee Maracle: Coast Salish Stories with an introduction by Gwen Point

Concert: Inez Jasper, Christie Lee Charles, DJ Guilty Pleasures, The Funk Hunters  (All Nations Stage) [5:00-9:00 PM]


All Nations Fest Saturday, July 25, 2015, Lafarge Lake, Town Centre Park

Reconciliation in the Tri-Cities: From Colonialism and Residential Schools to a Shared Future [1:00 to 2:30 PM]

  • Facilitated by Carleen Thomas (Tsleil-Waututh)

Ideas Stage [1 to 6 PM] Town Centre Park


  • Coast Salish Peoples 101
  • Protecting Salmon: A Concern to Everyone
  • Pipelines or Culture in Coast Salish Territory
  • Dialogues between Persian and Coast Salish Dancers, facilitated by Lia Fallah
  • Imagining Citizen Engagement for the Tri-Cities, by Amy Lubik
  • And More….

Tsleil-Waututh Nation Release Landmark Independent Assessment of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Proposal

Approval for controversial oil pipelines and tankers project denied

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC and COAST SALISH TERRITORY, May 26, 2015 – Today, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation the “People of the Inlet” released the outcomes of its independent assessment of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project (TMEX), conducted as a matter of its own jurisdiction and law. On the basis of its assessment – which found that the TMEX proposal represents unacceptable risks and would violate Tsleil-Waututh law – Tsleil-Waututh announced that it has denied approval for the TMEX project to proceed in its territory.

The results of the independent Tsleil-Waututh assessment come in the face of mounting criticism and dissatisfaction with the National Energy Board’s (“NEB”) review of the TMEX project.

“The Tsleil-Waututh assessment, which relied on the knowledge of Tsleil-Waututh members as well as extensive expert reports, found that the potential effects and consequences of the Trans Mountain expansion proposal would be even worse than we thought,” said Chief Maureen Thomas. “As a matter of our ancestral laws and stewardship responsibilities, our nation had no choice but to reject the TMEX project.”

The Tsleil-Waututh assessment was conducted under its Stewardship Policy which is an expression of the nation’s inherent jurisdiction and law. It finds, among other things that:

  • The fumes from spilled dilbit have the potential to make over 1 million people sick within two hours, including on the Tsleil-Waututh Reserve;
  • Spilled oil or dilbit seriously threatens all components of the Tsleil-Waututh subsistence economy, especially salmon, herring, clams, and birds and their habitats. A worst-case oil spill threatens to disrupt the dynamics of the food-web in Burrard Inlet and could lead to large-scale environmental catastrophe. It could kill up to 500,000 birds; and
  • If implemented without Tsleil-Waututh consent, the TMEX proposal denies the right of current and future generations to control and benefit from their waters and land.

“We’ve done what the NEB has struggled to do: a holistic and thorough review of the TMEX project,” said Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative. “We have concluded that the project is inconsistent with our stewardship obligations, which include the responsibility to maintain and restore conditions in our territory to allow for the environmental, cultural, spiritual and economic foundation for our nation to thrive.”

The TMEX proposal would result in a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic from Westridge Marine terminal, located in the heart of Tsleil-Waututh’s traditional territory and visible from the community of Tsleil-Waututh. The Tsleil-Waututh assessment finds that a major oil spill at the terminal could affect every inch of Burrard Inlet.

“Today we are putting Kinder Morgan and the Canadian government on notice that we will use all lawful means to ensure that Tsleil-Waututh’s decision in relation to the TMEX proposal is recognized, respected and enforced,” said Chief Thomas.

The following may be downloaded from the Trans Mountain Assessment Report page:

  • Tsleil-Waututh Assessment of the TMEX and Appendices
  • Chief and Council decision regarding the TMEX
  • Statement from Canadian law professors regarding the Tsleil-Waututh Assessment

About Tsleil-Waututh Nation: Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a progressive and vibrant Coast Salish community of approximately 500 members. The Nation is located along the shores of Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, across the Inlet from the Burnaby terminus of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

Media Contact: 

Sarah Thomas, 604-358-3371,

Anjali Appadurai, 604-328-6443,

Environmental consequences described in report deepen our opposition to Trans Mountain expansion

A large spill of diluted bitumen near Vancouver could kill over 100,000 birds and seriously harm other mammals, according to a new study.

The National Observer reported, May 18, on the new report co-commissioned by Tsleil-Waututh Nation, titled ‘The Fate and Effect of Oil Spills from the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River Estuary.’

The Observer reports: “The study says harbour seals and porpoises could perish in a spill and the endangered southern resident killer whale population would be jeopardized, elevating their risk of extinction.

“Extraordinarily high densities and numbers of sea and shorebirds, marine mammals and fish make them especially vulnerable to the potentially devastating mortalities should a major oil spill occur in Burrard Inlet or the Fraser River estuary,” according to the study.

Spill modeling that Genwest Inc. carried out showed that up to 90 per cent of oil from a spill can reach the shorelines within 48 hours. “Oil stranded in the intertidal zone of a beach establishes ‘effective killing zones’ for sea and shorebirds,” the study reported.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation, City of Vancouver, and Living Oceans Society commissioned the study, which Dr. Jeffrey Short, an international expert on the fate and effect of oil spills, prepared.
Short has 31 years of experience as a research chemist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service. His report will be submitted as evidence to the National Energy Board as part of the Trans Mountain Pipeline hearing process.

Energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan proposes to build a $5.4 billion second pipeline and expansion near the existing 1,150 kilometre Trans Mountain UCL pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby. The company wants to increase the pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.

The firm also envisions an increase of oil tanker activity in the Burrard Inlet from five to 34 a month, adding up to approximately 400 tankers annually.

The new city-commissioned report called the Salish Sea, and especially Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River estuary, one of the most ecologically important coastal marine habitats along the entire Pacific coast of North America. More than one million sea and shorebirds rely on the Salish Sea and Fraser River for habitat, food and shelter.

The majority of crude oil transported on the expanded pipeline system and exported via tanked is expected to be diluted bitumen (dilbit). Dilbit consists of heavy bitumen (crude oil) and a lighter natural gas condensate.

Spilled on the water, dilbit behaves differently than conventional crude oil. The study says the natural gas condensate components of dilbit begin to evaporate quickly, leaving behind a thick heavy substance that is prone to sinking in as little as 24 hours, which makes it much harder to recover.

Previous modeling work that Genwest Systems Inc. carried out for the City of Vancouver shows a spill in the Burrard Inlet would quickly impact nearly all the communities surrounding the inlet.
The modeling scenarios show between 50 and 90 per cent of the oil would reach the shorelines within hours, causing significant impacts to human health, the environment and the economy, a summary of the city’s study said.

One expert the city and the Tsleil-Waututh retained concluded a credible worst-case scenario oil spill along the tanker route would involve 16-million litres of dilbit.

In a release accompanying the new study, the city pointed out that the Fraser River is the largest single salmon-producing river on North America’s Pacific Coast. The river supports runs of sockeye, chinook, chum, pink and Coho salmon.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline makes over 80 water crossings within the Lower Fraser River watershed, putting millions of salmon that use that river at risk from a pipeline accident or malfunction.

Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC estimates its proposal would create $23.2 million in B.C. additional annual tax revenues over the project’s 20 years of operation.

Since 1961, a total of 81 reported oil spills along the Trans Mountain Pipeline have been documented. Four large spills under Kinder Morgan Canada’s ownership occurred, including 200,000 litres seeped into a tank farm in Burnaby in 2009; and a spill of 250,000 litres of crude oil into the Burrard Inlet in 2007.”

More information: @NatObserver

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