First Nations And Environmentalists Rally Outside Trans Mountain Hearings

 Two women sit outside the offices of the National Energy Board after locking themselves to the doors by placing bike locks around their necks, to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday January 18, 2016.DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Two women sit outside the offices of the National Energy Board after locking themselves to the doors by placing bike locks around their necks, to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday January 18, 2016.DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Red Power Media, Staff

Hearings on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion began in the Vancouver area today, despite calls from local politicians and protesters to halt the controversial review.

Protesters rallied outside the Delta Hotel in Burnaby today as the city of Surrey presented its case against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

About a dozen people, mostly from the Dogwood Initiative and the Squamish First Nation, waved signs and offered their support to the intervenors who headed inside the National Energy Board hearings.

First Nations, environmental groups and municipalities are set to make their presentations on Kinder Morgan’s contentious US$5.4 billion plan to triple the current capacity of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline.

The hearings will continue over the next 10 days in Burnaby, B.C., before wrapping in Calgary next month.

City of Surrey lawyer Anthony Capuccinello opened arguments by reiterating the city’s firm opposition to the expansion. The city, about 45 kilometres east of Vancouver, is asking the board to require Kinder Morgan to decommission and remove the portion of the current pipeline that runs through Surrey as a condition of any approval it grants.

The project has been contentious in part because the energy board streamlined the review process to meet time limits set by the previous Conservative government. Interveners did not have the opportunity to cross-examine Kinder Morgan representatives and instead were required to send in written questions, of which the company answered only a portion.

Protesters have been calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop the review and implement promised changes to the process.

Anti Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline protesters outside a NEB hearing at the Delta Burnaby Hotel in Burnaby, January 19, 2016.

Anti Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline protesters outside a NEB hearing at the Delta Burnaby Hotel in Burnaby, January 19, 2016.

Trudeau promised on the campaign trail in June to engage in a “new open process” for all pipelines and in August said a Liberal overhaul of the process would apply to existing pipelines.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has written Trudeau, asking the prime minister to put the review on hold while his government implements its promised changes.

The B.C. government announced last week it could not support the project because of concerns about spill response and aboriginal support, while the Alberta government issued its support because of the economic benefits.

Seattle ‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Shell’s Arctic Drilling Endeavor

Activists in kayaks form a flotilla in Elliott Bay to protest Shell's oil rig, the Polar Pioneer, moored at the Port of Seattle.

Activists in kayaks form a flotilla in Elliott Bay to protest Shell’s oil rig, the Polar Pioneer, moored at the Port of Seattle.

(Reuters) – Hundreds of activists in kayaks and small boats fanned out on a Seattle bay on Saturday to protest plans by Royal Dutch Shell to resume oil exploration in the Arctic and keep two of its drilling rigs stored in the city’s port.

Environmental groups have vowed to disrupt the Anglo-Dutch oil company’s efforts to use the Seattle as a home base as it outfits the rigs to return to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, saying drilling in the remote Arctic waters could lead to an ecological catastrophe.

Demonstrators have planned days of protests, both on land and in Elliott Bay, home to the Port of Seattle, where the first of the two rigs docked on Thursday.

Kayakers on Saturday paddled around the rig yelling “Shell No.” Others unfurled a large banner that read “Climate Justice.”

Environmental groups contend harsh and shifting weather conditions make it impossible to drill in the Arctic, a region with a fragile environment that helps regulate the global climate because of its vast layers of sea ice.

Allison Warden, 42, said she traveled from Alaska to represent her native Inupiaq tribe, which makes its home in the Arctic. She said whales central to the tribe’s culture are particularly vulnerable to oil spills.

“I don’t know what our culture would be without whaling. It’s at the center of everything we do,” she said. “It’s a different relationship than just going to the grocery store. The whale feeds the entire community,” she said.

Opponents of the rigs docking in Seattle, a city known for its environmental causes, include Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council.

Shell was bringing in the rigs and moving ahead as planned despite the opposition and a ruling earlier this week by the city’s planning department that the port’s agreement with the company was in violation of its city permit.

“The timeline now is just to make sure the rigs are ready to go,” said Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman.

The second rig is expected at the port in the coming days.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management gave conditional approval to Shell’s resumption of fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic, which was suspended after a mishap-filled 2012 season.

The decision was met with approval by some Alaska lawmakers, who said it would bring money and jobs to the state. (Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Eric Beech and Steve Orlofsky)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/16/seattle-kayak-shell-protest_n_7298518.html