‘Major Victory’: Landowner’s Legal Challenge Halts Construction of Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana

Faced with a new state law that effectively criminalized peaceful protests of pipelines, activists have put their bodies and freedom on the line to oppose the Bayou Bridge project in Louisiana. (Photo: L’eau Est La Vie Camp/Facebook)

By Jessica Corbett

In a “major victory” for local landowners and pipeline activists who are fighting to block the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana, the company behind the project agreed to halt construction on a patch of private property just ahead of a court hearing that was scheduled for Monday morning.

The path of the 163-mile pipeline runs through Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest wetland and swamp. Local landowners and activists have raised alarm about the threat the pipeline poses to regional water resources, wildlife, and communities.

“We have been tased, pepper sprayed, put into choke holds, and beaten with batons to stop this illegal construction that ETP was carrying out despite not having an easement for the land.”  —L’eau Est La Vie Camp

Peter Aaslestad, one of several co-owners of undeveloped marshland, filed an injunction in July alleging that the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) was clearing trees and trenching on his property without permission. ETP—which is also behind the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline—claims it has the right to the use property through expropriation, a process used to take private land for public benefit.

Monday’s agreement “essentially gives us everything we would have asked for with [the injunction] request and argued for in our hearing,” Misha Mitchell, a lawyer for Aaslestad and Atchafalaya Basinkeeperexplained in a Facebook video. “The company has voluntarily agreed to cease entering onto the property and to stop all construction activities on the property.”

A court hearing for the expropriation battle is scheduled for Nov. 27, meaning the company will not meet its initial deadline of completing construction by October.

“This represents a significant victory for the conservation of the Atchafalaya Basin and for the rights of private landowners who lawfully resist their property being seized for private gain,” Aaslestad said in a statement.

A collective of activists fighting against the pipeline—who have created the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) floating resistance camp—celebrated the agreement as validation of their ongoing efforts to kill the project.

“We have been tased, pepper sprayed, put into choke holds, and beaten with batons to stop this illegal construction that ETP was carrying out despite not having an easement for the land,” the group wrote on Facebook Monday. “While this is a major victory, construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues in other parts of the Atchafalaya Basin. We won’t stop until completely shut down the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.”

Protests have continued even as state lawmakers have enacted legislation that effectively criminalizes peaceful protests of “critical infrastructure,” including pipeline projects. Last month, as Common Dreams reported, three kayaktivists who oppose Bayou Bridge were detained by private security, then arrested and charged with felonies under the new law.

The Times-Picayune reports that “at least 12 activists protesting the pipeline on Aaslestad’s property have been arrested” under the law, which took effect Aug. 1, but the district attorney “has not yet decided whether to prosecute the protesters.”

Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor who is volunteering as an attorney for the protesters, said they were all detained by private security before being arrested, explaining that “because they were on private property at the invitation of the owner, it’s not clear that [ETP] had any right to do what they were doing, or have people arrested.”

Published on September 10, 2018 by 
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Fishing boats converge on Nova Scotia harbour as part of effluent pipe protest

Fishing boats pass the Northern Pulp mill as concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest the mill's plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S., on Friday, July 6, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Fishing boats pass the Northern Pulp mill as concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest the mill’s plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S., on Friday, July 6, 2018. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

Dozens of fishing boats steamed towards a hulking pulp mill in northern Nova Scotia on Friday, marking the climax of a boisterous demonstration that saw more than 1,000 protesters call on the mill’s owners to scuttle a plan to dump millions of litres of effluent a day into the Northumberland Strait.

Chanting “No pipe, no way!” a long line of marchers streamed onto the pier of a sun-drenched marina in Pictou, which is directly across the town’s harbour from the massive Northern Pulp mill.

A fishermen’s group estimated that about 200 boats were part of the flotilla that sailed into the breezy, choppy harbour around 1 p.m., then circled back to the marina as a protest rally got underway.

Though the kraft pulp mill provides much-needed jobs for the town of about 3,000 residents, its pipeline plan has raised concerns about the impact on the lobster fishery, other seafood businesses and protected areas along the coast.

After years of pumping 70 million litres of treated wastewater daily into lagoons on the edge of the nearby Pictou Landing First Nation reserve, Northern Pulp wants to dump it directly into the strait.

The mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence based in Richmond, B.C., has said the mill and its 300 employees will be out of work unless it can build a pipeline that would meet all federal environmental standards: “The bottom line is no pipe equals no mill.”

Kathy Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Paper Excellence, said in a statement that of the 131 kraft mills operating in North America, about 20 per cent use a system like the one proposed for the mill at Abercrombie Point. The remaining 80 per cent use a system similar to the lagoon system now in use.

Cloutier said options are limited, as no other effluent systems are used in either the U.S. or Canada.

“Northern Pulp has thoroughly investigated treatment options available,” Cloutier said. “This $70-million project will considerably reduce the need for bleaching chemicals by 30 to 40 per cent to whiten the pulp as it progresses through the system.”

Nonetheless, Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul said her people’s fight against the mill isn’t over.

“There have been many people working tirelessly for years to bring this to the forefront,” she said after stepping from one of the fishing boats in the harbour.

“This is not going to end today. We will continue to be on this water because we have a duty to protect all that lives in the water.”

Concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest a pulp mill’s plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S on Friday, July 6, 2018. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan told the crowd that the province’s decision to conduct a Class 1 environmental assessment wasn’t good enough. He wants a federal environmental assessment.

“The town of Pictou will continue to take the firm position that protection of the fishing industry is paramount,” he said, sunshine glinting off the large chain of office around his neck.

Earlier in the day, P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan issued a statement saying he had written to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to express his concerns about the potential impact on the ecosystem of the Northumberland Strait.

“Given the amount of time that has passed and fresh uncertainty about the Northern Pulp proposal, I believe there is now an opportunity to take a more fully collaborative approach,” the letter says.

Under provincial legislation passed in 2015, the mill has until 2020 to replace its current treatment plant in nearby Boat Harbour, and McNeil confirmed Thursday he is sticking with that deadline.

He said he didn’t know much about the protest, adding that he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to the pipeline proposal.

“Any time there’s a development, there will be those who have opposing views, and they are polarizing at times,” McNeil said after he shuffled his cabinet Thursday, appointing a new environment minister in the process.

Before the protest got underway in Pictou, Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the province should abandon its plans to conduct a Class 1 assessment and instead order a more stringent Class 2 assessment.

If that doesn’t happen, then the federal government should be approached to conduct a comprehensive review, he said.

“Either of these would accomplish the goal of having entirely trustworthy information in front of everybody,” Burrill said.

He also called attention the mill’s spotty environmental record as its ownership has changed hands several times since it opened in 1967.

The lagoons contain nearly 50 years worth of toxic waste, which former Nova Scotia environment minister Iain Rankin has called one of the worst cases of environmental racism in Canada.

In February, groups representing fishermen in Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and New Brunswick suspended further meetings with the mill after voicing frustration over its insistence on a pipe.

Earlier this month, the company said the proposed route of a pipeline would be changed to avoid potential ice damage. That means the company has delayed filing its environmental assessment with the province.

The mill generates over $200 million annually for the provincial economy by making 280,000 tonnes of kraft pulp annually, primarily for tissue, towel, toilet and photo copy paper.

The Canadian Press 

[SOURCE]

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project

According to Enbridge, the multibillion-dollar Line 3 replacement represents the largest project in the company’s history. Here, contractors work near Superior, Wis. MPR News

Minnesota regulators have approved Enbridge’s proposal to replace its Line 3 pipeline across the northern part of the state.

According to media reports, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the $9-billion Enbridge Line 3 replacement project on Thursday afternoon.

MPR News says the decision came with several conditions, including a decommissioning trust fund to ensure the new pipeline will be retired responsibly decades from now. Enbridge will also be required to follow through on a promise to landowners to remove portions of the old Line 3 upon request.

The Globe and Mail reports, a narrow 3-2 decision approved Enbridge’s preferred route for the pipeline, south of the existing corridor, with only slight modifications, meaning the company dodges the potential for lengthy delays and added costs of alternatives.

Indigenous tribes and environmental groups vowed immediately to appeal the decision and maintain their resistance to the project.

In a sign of potential clashes ahead, the commission was interrupted midway through Thursday’s deliberations in St. Paul, Minn., by shouts that it had “declared war on the Ojibwe.”

Native american activists and environmentalists oppose the project, saying it’s unnecessary and would risk spills in pristine areas of the state.

Line 3 also requires 29 additional permits from local, state and federal levels, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement. “Approvals are by no means assured,” he said.

Appeals of the commission’s decisions go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Minnesota Legislature also could intervene when it reconvenes next year. Dayton vetoed a bill last session that would have let Enbridge bypass the commission and proceed with replacing Line 3. But voters will elect a new governor and a new Legislature in November.

The total length of the Line 3 replacement is 1,031-mile (1,660-km) from Alberta in western Canada to Wisconsin.

Spill at Trans Mountain pipeline station in B.C. larger than initially reported

A spill from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline late last month was 48 times larger than initially reported, officials said.

The spill volume reported from the company’s Darfield station north of Kamloops on May 27 was revised to 4,800 litres from 100 litres, the B.C. Ministry of Environment said Sunday.

It said 100 litres is the minimum threshold under the company’s spill reporting obligations, so that’s why the ministry estimated 100 litres at the time.

Trans Mountain spokeswoman Ali Hounsell said the company didn’t tell regulators how much medium crude oil escaped at the time of the spill.

“Trans Mountain had not provided an estimate of the volume spilled, other than to confirm with regulators that it was over the reportable threshold, until cleanup had sufficiently progressed to a stage where an accurate estimation could be provided,” she said in an e-mail.

Following an on-site investigation, she said Trans Mountain has provided the updated volume estimate to regulators.

Trans Mountain is in the final stages of completing the cleanup, she said.

Under British Columbia’s spill reporting regulation, Trans Mountain was required to report the spill immediately. The regulation says the quantity spilled should be among the information included in that report, “to the extent practical.”

The company turned off the pipeline for several hours the day of the spill, which the ministry said came from a leaking flow metre.

The spill was contained to the station property and no waterways were affected, the ministry said.

Two days later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government will spend $4.5-billion to buy the Trans Mountain expansion and Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets.

Kinder Morgan had ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion in April, vowing to cancel it unless it received assurances it can proceed without delays and without undue risk to shareholders by a deadline of May 31.

After the federal government’s announcement, the company said work would be restarted soon, with the government funding construction. The sale is expected to close in the second half of the year.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

B.C. judge expands Trans Mountain injunction as protesters use ’calculated’ defiance

Burnaby RCMP arrested several protesters for violating a court injunction that prohibits them from entering within five metres of a Kinder Morgan work site.

Anti-pipeline protesters have made a calculated effort to blockade two Trans Mountain work sites in Burnaby, says a British Columbia Supreme Court judge who expanded his injunction to include equipment facilities and other locations involving the controversial project.

Justice Kenneth Affleck said Friday he would have some sympathy for people opposed to Trans Mountain’s application to vary his March 15 order prohibiting protests within a five-metre buffer zone, but an abundance of evidence indicates people have found ways to get around it and stop police from making arrests.

“In my view, the clear attempt to frustrate the injunction is not acceptable and there needs to be a means by this court to determine that its orders are respected,” Affleck said.

Those opposed have every right to protest, he said.

“They have a right to make their views known in a way that captures the attention of the world, if they wish to do so, but they are not entitled to block what is lawful activity.”

Dozens of protesters have been arrested since protests escalated last November. Many of those have appeared before Affleck this week to plead guilty to criminal contempt of court for violating the injunction and to pay fines or commit to community service. Others have yet to make court appearances.

Trans Mountain lawyer Maureen Killoran told Affleck that protesters have used a “workaround” to flout the injunction, which applied to the Burnaby Terminal and the Westridge Marine Terminal.

Killoran said affidavits from two witnesses indicate protesters have been bent on maximizing disruption at the two construction sites by “tag teaming” to avoid arrest after police read them the injunction order and gave them a 10-minute warning.

She read Facebook posts of a group called the Justin Trudeau Brigade, which urges protesters to leave a blockade just before the warning time is up as they are replaced by another group and police have to read the injunction order again and the process repeats.

Killoran said an RCMP officer’s affidavit outlines how protesters at the Burnaby work sites have taken advantage of the 10-minute warning period and slowed down the enforcement process, resulting in fewer arrests, more work for police, and no repercussions for protesters.

“This is the mischief we are here to address,” Killoran said, adding protest organizers are committed to stopping Trans Mountain trucks from entering construction sites and aim to blockade other locations where the company might store equipment or have contractors working on the project.

She said activists have also climbed on top of a tunnel boring machine at a storage facility in Delta, B.C., so the injunction must be extended beyond the Burnaby work sites.

Affleck granted Trans Mountain’s request to enforce the five-metre injunction in other areas as well as allowing the company to post warning signs 10 metres from work sites.

Neil Chantler, a lawyer for one of 15 defendants named in a notice of civil claim, called Trans Mountain’s request to expand the injunction too broad and said the company was being hypothetical in assuming people would protest beyond Burnaby but had evidence only on the incident at the Delta facility.

“Trans Mountain is trying to get a carte blanche order that it may wield in the future wherever it chooses, much to the detriment and uncertainty of the general public,” Chantler said.

However, Killoran said there is nothing hypothetical about Trans Mountain’s intention to protect its work sites while continuing a project that the federal government has approved.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Liberal government to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion

Finance Minister Bill Morneau arrives at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

The Federal Liberal government is spending $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan.

The deal includes all of Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets. The purchase ensures that the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia will begin a planned expansion this summer.

According to CBC News, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced details of the agreement reached with Kinder Morgan at a news conference with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr this morning.

Morneau said the project is in the national interest, and proceeding with it will preserve jobs, reassure investors and get resources to world markets. He could not say exactly what additional costs will be incurred by the Canadian public to build the expansion, but suggested a toll paid by oil companies could offset some costs and that there would be a financial return on the investment.

The purchase price does not include the construction costs of the Trans Mountain expansion so the final bill to Canadian taxpayers will be significantly higher once labour and materials are included.

Kinder Morgan had estimated the cost of building the expansion would be $7.4 billion, but Morneau insisted that the project will not have a fiscal impact, or “hit.”

Alberta will also provide emergency funding to cover unforeseen costs.

The government does not intend to be a long-term owner, and at the appropriate time, the government will work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners.

However, Kinder Morgan will be paid regardless of whether a new suitor is found.

Until then, the pipeline project will proceed under the ownership of a Crown corporation.

The agreement, which must still be approved by Kinder Morgan’s shareholders, is expected to close in August.

‘Eco-Colonialism’: Rift Grows Between Indigenous Leaders and Green Activists

Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation.

Indigenous communities say they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree

With flowing long hair, stoic expression and tribal garb, Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in north-central British Columbia, more than looked and acted the part of an aggrieved leader in the epic fight against the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.

He was quoted in the campaign’s news releases, filed complaints to the United Nations and spoke defiantly to investors. Environmental group Stand.earth even described him as the “poster boy” for Indigenous opposition to Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline.

The $7-billion pipeline was eventually cancelled last year, but Louie didn’t actually want to sink the project. Lost in the heat of the public battle was that he really just wanted to win more money for his impoverished community than the “ridiculous” $70,000 a year being offered by the company.

Louie’s experience is indicative of a widening rift between Indigenous communities and activists over natural resources, particularly in British Columbia, the focal point of major green campaigns generously funded by U.S. interests to thwart oil and gas exports.

The campaigns consistently portray a united Indigenous anti-development front and allies of the green movement, but some Indigenous leaders are becoming alarmed that they could be permanently frozen out of the mainstream economy if resource projects don’t go ahead.

They said in interviews they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas, recruiting token members to front their causes, sowing mistrust and conflict, and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree.

“The best way to describe it is eco-colonialism,” said Ken Brown, a former chief of the Klahoose First Nation in southwestern B.C. “You are seeing a very pervasive awakening among these First Nations leaders about what is going on in the environmental community.”

For instance, Louie is now one of the leaders of the proposed $17-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline, a Northern Gateway alternative championed by First Nations.

“When I went after Enbridge we were trying to gain more benefits for major projects going through our country,” he said.

Word soon got out about his differences with Enbridge and he was approached by a handful of lawyers representing green organizations who promised him assistance and funding, Louie recalled.

Their partnership ended bitterly because the two sides had conflicting objectives. He wanted better benefits; the activists wanted the project to fail.

The eventual failure of Northern Gateway was just one of a series of tipping points in recent months that worry some Indigenous leaders.

There was also the demise of Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG, as well as the continuing challenges faced by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and other proposed LNG projects. These cancellations and obstacles are celebrated by activists, but also wiped out jobs and revenue for First Nations.

Calvin Helin is chairman and president of the proposed Eagle Spirit pipeline, conceived and backed by First Nations groups and individuals.

Eagle Spirit also faces difficulties. Led by Indigenous lawyer Calvin Helin and supported by First Nations along the proposed route through northern B.C., the project will collapse if the federal government goes ahead with a tanker ban that is making its way through Parliament.

The ban is related to the Great Bear Rainforest, which was created by the B.C. government last year to conserve a big part of the province’s northern and central coast.

Both initiatives are seen by greens as big achievements, but are disputed by First Nations such as the Lax Kw’alaams, who said they were advanced without proper consultation and prevent their members from making a living.

Brown’s experience with environmental activism started about a decade ago, when he was chief of his tribe and supported two run-of-river hydro projects.

The projects were attacked by groups such as Save Our Rivers and Western Canada Wilderness Committee for being harmful to fish habitat, and Brown’s band was criticized for being “sellouts and socially irresponsible people looking for the quick buck,” he said.

“What an onslaught it was. There was a high level of participation from people who had never been to the region … and they were all conveying the same narrative: ‘The sky is falling, keep your blood money, corporations are evil.’”

Brown, who now runs a consulting company, said similar tactics are used against other projects, too.

“If First Nations communities are willing to conform to the prescribed eco-narratives, they are going to get all kinds of accolades and praise, but if they don’t conform, it’s vitriolic hit pieces on these people,” he said.

Louie is still shaken by the backlash he experienced. After complaining to activists they were only using him to advance their cause, he said he was blackballed.

“Workers were spreading the word that I am not a good man, that I am there to ruin the environment, that I am making money on my own,” he said. “They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I wouldn’t be struggling to pay for my car payments.”

Louie said he joined the Eagle Spirit project to achieve what he couldn’t with Northern Gateway: help his tribe become economically self-reliant.

Martin Louie in 2012 leading a protest against Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I would not be struggling to pay for my car payments – Martin Louie

Environmental organizations and Indigenous communities in recent years have found common cause in opposing some projects and in fighting the impacts of capitalism on the environment, said Dwight Newman, Canada research chair in Indigenous rights at the University of Saskatchewan.

A big reason is that Indigenous people have unique legal rights and by working with them, green groups are better able to block developments than if they relied on environmental grounds alone, he said.

Section 35 of Canada’s constitution states the Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and, where it anticipates adverse impacts, to accommodate to the extent reasonably possible.

So far, the law has been used against development, but one of the unknowns is whether Indigenous communities will use it to pursue economic development and override the environmental laws that block projects such as Eagle Spirit, Newman said.

“At some point, these arguments will end up in the courts, either directly as rights claims or as claims that there ought to have been consultation on potential effects on such rights,” Newman said in an article for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

“And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from development.”

And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from developmentDwight Newman

Many conservation campaigns rely on U.S. funds because there is more money available there due to tax laws and an abundance of wealthy philanthropists.

Vancouver-based researcher and blogger Vivian Krause has tallied the large sums poured by U.S. groups to fight pipelines and gas projects in Canada by analyzing tax filings.

The biggest funder has been the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has granted more than $190 million to First Nations, environmental and other organizations working in B.C., Krause said.

The top recipient of funds from the Moore Foundation is Tides Canada, which received at least $70 million, she said. Tides Canada spends that money internally and re-grants it to other groups, particularly First Nations organizations.

Other big U.S.-based funders are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.

“These American interests are trying to stop these projects any way they can, and one of the best ways is by leveraging the constitutional rights of First Nations in the courts,” Krause said.

The former United Nations worker said she pursued the research because of pleas for help from Indigenous leaders “who want jobs and social and economic prosperity (and) are sick and tired of what they call the paid protesters.”

One of those leaders is Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska, and a member of Eagle Spirit’s Chiefs Council. He’s disappointed the federal government is giving more weight to environmentalists than to the needs of Indigenous communities.

“We were totally taken aback and surprised by the announcement of this tanker ban because of the government’s statement that they were going to include First Nations,” he said. “No one got consulted.”

Eagle Spirit would create jobs and opportunities “that people never had” in a region where other industries such as fishing, forestry and eco-tourism are doing badly, he said.

Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska.

Alexcee, 70, said many in his community don’t support green campaigns. He said activists have come to the region in big numbers and picked “token” members to advance their causes.

Relations between activists and Indigenous people got really ugly in nearby Prince Rupert, in the territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

The community was initially opposed to a liquefied natural gas project proposed by a consortium led by Malaysia’s Petronas because of its location on Lelu Island, which they believed would threaten juvenile salmon.

They became supporters after negotiating bigger benefits and getting the project to re-locate.

But a small group of opponents continued to protest. Their frontman was Donnie Wesley, who claimed to be a hereditary chief and led an occupation of the site. That opened the door for activists to come in and offer band members funds and assistance to defeat a high-profile target, said Mayor John Helin.

Dozens of “professional protesters” travelled to the area from as far away as California with funding from groups such as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, which, in turn, was getting money from Tides and the Moore Foundation.

“More or less, they called me a traitor,” Helin said.

Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor – Ray Jones

Petronas pulled the plug on the $36-billion venture this summer, which meant $2 billion in benefits over 40 years for the band were lost.

The Lax Kw’alaams chided Wesley for misrepresenting himself as a hereditary leader. The dispute over who represented the community ended up in court. Wesley lost and is appealing.

Greg Knox, executive director of Terrace, B.C.-based SkeenaWild, said there is a wide range of perspectives in Indigenous communities and while some may feel they lost opportunity when Petronas cancelled its LNG project, others were relieved because salmon were no longer threatened.

“This project was proposed for a terrible location,” Knox said. Many other LNG projects were also proposed, but “this was the only one that people were concerned about and there was big opposition to.”

His group also campaigned against Northern Gateway and supports the tanker ban, he said, but doesn’t have a position on Eagle Spirit yet because it doesn’t have enough information.

Stand.earth brags on its website that it has delayed or stopped 21 “dirty oil pipelines and train projects.” But it relied on Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, to confront Kinder Morgan Canada chief executive Ian Anderson at a recent Vancouver Board of Trade event promoting the $7.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I do not welcome you onto my territory. You are not welcome on my lands, and you certainly cannot be doing business here without Tsleil-Waututh consent,” George said, according to a statement distributed by the group.

“It’s really Indigenous nations protecting their land that allows us to win these fights,” said Stand.earth campaigner Hailey Zacks, noting 150 First Nations in Canada and the U.S. are opposed to the project.

For its part, Kinder Morgan said 42 directly impacted Indigenous communities are supportive of the pipeline expansion and have signed benefits agreements.

What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it – Hailey Zacks, Stand.earth campaigner

Zacks couldn’t speak to that, but said, “What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Haida Gwaii is one community known as a hostile place for development of all kinds — and for those who dare to promote it.

Hereditary chief Ray Jones, 66, was harshly castigated for doing consulting work for Northern Gateway, which would have included tankers sailing to and from Asia, potentially impacting the island.

A former captain in the fishing industry with intimate knowledge of the coast, the 66-year-old said he supported the shipment of oil and gas and any other work that promised desperately needed employment.

His contract job with Enbridge involved building communications between the island community and the company, he said.

But Jones was up against powerful forces. Haida Gwaii’s leadership worked closely with activists, he said, “a whole pile of them,” particularly from the David Suzuki Foundation, visited the area regularly and influenced the local population.

The foundation did not respond to an interview request.

The community was so close-minded about getting an alternative point of view, few even asked him what his job with Enbridge involved, Jones said.

“Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor,” he said. “I have two sisters who don’t talk to me. I have had people call me the village clown, a lot of derogatory things. I’ve had my tires slashed, I’ve had somebody key my car. It’s ugly.”

The same attitude has killed other jobs, pushing young people away and leaving the rest with nothing to improve their lot, he said.

“I always tell my grand children, get a damn good education because I don’t know what you kids are in for in your life,” Jones said. “We lived in a good time.”

By: Claudia Cattaneo – Jan 4, 2018.

[SOURCE]

Reader Submission 

Social Movements Played A Huge Part in Derailing Energy East

(Lauren McCallum / CBC)

Yes, the cancellation was a business decision. But thousands of activists were instrumental in its delay

In the wake of TransCanada’s announcement that it will no longer be pursuing Energy East, a familiar chorus of politicians have emerged to blame various actors for the pipeline’s demise.

Conservative MPs and premiers pointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Leadership hopefuls for Alberta’s United Conservative Party framed it as a direct failure of Premier Rachel Notley. And federal Liberals explained itvaguely as a “business decision” based on “market conditions.”

This blame game, however, has largely ignored the significant role social movements played in derailing the pipeline. Indeed, thousands of concerned citizens have been working to change the discourse and timelines surrounding this project since it was first floated back in 2012.

Years of delay

The pipeline was originally scheduled to be approved by the end of 2014 and in operation by the end of 2018. Instead, delays won by Indigenous communities, grassroots groups, labour unions and NGOs prevented Energy East from being built when it was still economically and politically feasible, back when the price of oil was well north of $80 per barrel.

These delays also created space for Energy East opponents to carve out new expectations of the environmental and social burdens of proof needed for an energy project’s approval, making it even harder to build.

Two events in particular each drove about two years of delay. First, there was the September 2014 grassroots-funded legal challenge on risks to beluga whales at the project’s proposed Cacouna Marine terminal, which triggered a long process of TransCanada trying and failing to find a new Quebec location acceptable to the public.

And second, there was the Charest Affair, where an apparent conflict of interest called into question the overall validity – and legality – of the National Energy Board’s hearing on Energy East, causing delays.

But neither Cacouna nor Charest would have translated into long-term suspensions if not for the public’s ability to run with them. As with Standing Rock and Northern Gateway before it, Indigenous communities led this charge.

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, the Iroquois Caucus, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Grand Chief of Treaty 3 and the Kanehsatà:ke Mohawks — alongside many individual nations and Indigenous activists — opposed the project with everything from lawsuits, to speaking tours to direct action.

We saw grassroots marches touring the pipeline route each summer using theatre to raise awareness, protestor takeovers of NEB hearings and TransCanada meetings, youth co-opting selfies with Trudeau to create viral video fodder and an unlikely crew of trade unions, municipalities, French language advocacy groups and professional associations all taking stances against the pipeline.

Approval process review

It is this groundswell of opposition that created the political space for policy-oriented opponents to Energy East to successfully advocate for a review of the National Energy Board’s approval process, and for new interim measures to be applied to Energy East. Among them was the consideration of the climate change impacts of the project — something that, ideally, would be a given for an environmental review of a fossil fuel project.

The pipeline’s new review, if it had been restarted, would have been the first to include consideration of greenhouse gas emissions both up- and down-stream from the project. These added requirements, in combination with the dour economic outlook for bitumen export and the risks of direct action during construction, mean Energy East has become impossible to build. So yes, the cancellation of Energy East was a business decision, but it was one made in a landscape that’s been successfully engineered by social movements.

For those concerned about the risks to the 2973 waterways Energy East would cross, the rights of the 180 Indigenous nations whose territories it would impact, the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 21 million cars it would facilitate and the lack of demand for new oil sands export capacity, the death of Energy East is something to be feted.

But be sure to ground your touchdown dance or celebratory round of kombucha in the recognition that this was one of the easier fossil fuel mega-projects to stop. Of the oil sands pipeline proposals made in the last decade, Energy East has always had the most questionable economic prospects and held the most risk for the Quebec-dependent Liberal government.

Bigger challenges lie ahead in stopping already-approved pipelines such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3, new upstream fossil fuel projects like Teck’s Frontier oil sands mine, and in pushing for the bold and equitable solutions needed to get to a zero-carbon society. Before we get back to work, let’s be sure to stake out Energy East as a victory for collective action, lest Trudeau, Notley or low oil prices get all the credit.

By Bronwen Tucker, for CBC News Posted: Oct 12, 2017

[SOURCE]

Private Property Home to Growing Initiative Opposing Proposed Enbridge Pipeline

Camp Makwa - Line 3 Front Line Camp/Facebook

Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp 

CLOQUET, MN –Dozens are gathering in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 proposed crude oil pipeline. Protests over the controversial project in Douglas County, Wis., have resulted in a number of arrests.

Right now, several routes are at the center of public hearings. One group of protesters who call themselves water protectors is recalling Standing Rock as they voice their opposition.

One of the proposed Line 3 routes would travel through the Fond du Lac Band’s land, which is where The Makwa Initiative is underway. One Ojibwe grandmother says Makwa means black bear in Ojibwe.

Fond du Lac Band member Jim Northrup III is among the growing members of the Initiative.

“They’re here, they’re serious,” water protector, Northrup III, said.

Northrup is the son of late world-renowned author and poet, Jim Northrup, and says Makwa is bound to become as big as Standing Rock. He says he is happy to see the water protectors return the favor after spending a year at Standing Rock.

“It’s like these are the ones that are watching, watching – trying to watch over this water,” Northrup III said.

The Makwa Initiative is on 30 acres of privately owned land that falls within the Fond du Lac Band’s boundaries. It started as a gathering of several people, but we are told the gates have opened to nearly 150 people gathering on weekends.

“I know it so much where I’m willing to die for this,” water protector, Dallon White, said.

The growing initiative has caught the attention of St. Louis County. In a letter to the landowner, Scott Kretz, the county lays out the permits needed to be filed if he wants to use his property as a camp.

Kretz claims he is simply opening his place to hunting, gathering and traditional practices.

“Are they going to take the rights of property away from me for doing this?” water protector, Scott Kretz, said.

In its letter, St. Louis County says a campground application ensures trash is properly disposed of and sewage is properly treated in order to prevent pollution at the site.

According to a St. Louis County spokesperson, there are parts of Cloquet where the mailing address is Cloquet, but the location still falls within St. Louis County; that is the case when it comes to Kretz’s land.

“They’re going to punish me because I’ve allowed people to come visit me in this common cause? Where’s the harm?” Kretz said.

Northrup says they are there to protect the earth’s resources against fossil fuels.

“I come home and they’re trying to put in another line or remove their line. Nobody knows what they’re really doing. But I’m ready to set aside more because that’s what I did for Standing Rock.”

KBJR 6 was not allowed into the entirety of the site due to concerns of St. Louis County using our footage against those on-site. KBJR 6 was told all water protectors are welcome to join the Initiative.

The Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp’s Facebook page says supplies can be sent to 3868 Brevator Road, Cloquet MN 55720. The Facebook page links to a legal fund in their about section.

We asked Barry Simonson, Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project Director, if the company was prepared for a Standing Rock situation happening at the site, and Simonson said he did not think anyone wants that to happen.

“We at Enbridge have been operating in Minnesota for over 65 years. We live here, and I work and live here, and Minnesotans live and work in Minnesota. So I don’t think anyone wants that to happen,” Simonson said.

The Enbridge Line 3 project has already been approved in Wisconsin, but has yet to be approved in Minnesota. The Line 3 Pipeline carries Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin.

(Reporter/Writer: Ramona Marozas, Photographer: Michelle Alfini, Editor: Anthony Larson)

By KBJR 6, Posted: Sep 25, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Pipeline ‘Man Camps’ Loom over B.C.’s Highway of Tears

An industry camp for workers on a pipeline near Rainbow Lake, Alta. is shown on Jan. 27, 2013. Photo by Jason Woodhead on Flickr Creative Commons.

Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation is nestled on the banks of Stuart Lake in north-central British Columbia, surrounded by rolling foothills and tall trees.

It is a relatively remote community, breathtaking in scenery and dependent on economic opportunities in forestry, mining, and pipeline development. It is a community bracing for major change.

Over the next decade, as many as 6,000 new energy industry workers could descend upon the region. The prospect of such a big influx of workers living in nearby “man camps” has aroused fears of increased violence and drug use.

The influx could more than double the population of about 4,500 in the Fort St. James area, which includes the municipality, rural communities and First Nations. Nak’azdli has just 1,972 members living both on and off reserves. The nearest city, Prince George, is 160 kilometres away.

To get ahead of the documented challenges that accompany an influx of temporary workers from outside the region, the Nak’azdli and Lake Babine First Nations are creating two full-time positions, funded by the B.C. government, to help them prepare.

Nak’azdli Band Councillor Ann Marie Sam says if several industrial project proposals go ahead as planned over the next decade, as many as six new work camps, housing up to 1,000 workers each, could be built within 60 to 100 kilometres of the community.

Among the proposed projects are TransCanada’s: the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the North Montney Mainline pipeline and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. The company is reviewing the Prince Rupert project, however, because Pacific NorthWest LNG announced in July that it would not proceed with a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal near Port Edward, B.C. due to economy uncertainty.

The Nak’azdli band had also expressed opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would have run through its territory had it not been rejected by the federal government last year.

The danger of bringing in “man camps”

The “man camps” are precisely what their name implies: work camps housing mostly male employees working on resource development projects.

There were more than four men for every woman working in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas industries in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal Liberal government is now reviewing Canada’s conservation laws and is expected to tackle this issue. In June, it recommended changes to environmental assessments to require a gender-based analysis of an industrial project’s impacts.

When the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project was under review, community members expressed concern about two camps slated for construction in the traditional territory of the nearby Lake Babine First Nation. The Lake Babine and Nak’azdli nations found common cause, as Nak’azdli’s traditional territory hosts mining and forestry camps already.

The two nations commissioned a joint report, funded by B.C.’s Department of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, with research by the consulting company Firelight Group. Statistics from the study, released in February 2017, indicate that industrial camps are associated with increased rates of sexual assault and violence against Indigenous women, along with addiction, sexually transmitted infections, and family violence.

“The potential for sexual assault, violence, disappearances, (sexually transmitted diseases), increases with the number of trucks on the road,” study author Ginger Gibson told National Observer. “There’s a whole whack of issues that don’t get considered until construction is happening and that’s too late.”

The final report recommends governments and agencies consider legislation, programs and services to address problems associated with industrial camps, and plan for integrated service delivery in advance of resource development projects. It also states a need for governments to allocate new financial and human resources to health, social services, and housing in the region.

Specific recommendations, from provision of addiction counseling to building recreational facilities, are designed to prevent problems and to address them when the do occur.

In an email, a spokesperson for TransCanada wrote that the company regularly engages with Indigenous communities and would continue to do so throughout the life of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Although TransCanada says it attended an info session during the research phase of the industrial camp report, it wouldn’t provide further comment on the findings.

The B.C. government didn’t respond to requests from National Observer for comment for this article.

A view of Stuart Lake in north central British Columbia. This area is home to the small Nak’azdli First Nation, which is bracing for challenges that can accompany an influx of energy workers. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

‘Rigger culture’ puts Indigenous women at risk?

The Firelight Group’s research included discussions with local community members about the experience of Indigenous women living near construction camps.

“There’s a ‘rigger culture’ that exists, where a lot of people are working together in a hyper masculine context and they’re not really taking care of themselves — they might be drinking and doing drugs, and then they’re blowing off steam,” said Gibson.

“They’re not in their home community and they don’t think about the (local) people as their family or neighbours so they don’t treat people very kindly.”

Following the findings of the study, Nak’azdli leadership is looking at ways to prepare for the next influx of workers. Community members talk about preparing to welcome newcomers to their territory. Industry representatives talk about working with Indigenous groups to provide local cultural competency courses to their employees.

The Nak’azdli Health Centre is assembling rape kits to gather physical evidence after assaults.

Coun. Ann Marie Sam says planning for assaults is an unfortunate necessity.

“When we started developing rape crisis plans the first question for me was, ‘Why do we have to tell our women we can’t protect you and sexual assaults are going to happen? And when they do, we’re going to have a plan for you,'” she said in an interview. “I thought it was so unfair for our community to have to do that.”

Community leaders worry that nearby women and children could be a target for workers who parachute into the area.

Sam recalled seeing an unfamiliar woman in town about a year ago when she was out walking with one of her daughters.

“I watched her, wondering who she was. One of the delivery trucks from the (Mount Milligan) mine was coming through town, driving fast, saw her, slams on the breaks, dust on the road and stops beside her. She gets in the truck and I don’t know whose daughter that was — if she was a mother, or whose sister that was. But that really struck me.”

Sam said she wondered if the driver solicited the young woman for sex. “Who do you report that to? I didn’t report it because I didn’t know who she was and I didn’t know what happened to her.”

Among risks identified in the Firelight report are increased rates of sexually transmitted infections. The Nak’azdli Health Centre is launching an awareness campaign and promotes STI testing for both workers and community members.

“We want to welcome workers to our town but we also want to let them know that these are the rules of our town,” community health nurse Liza Sam, the councillor’s sister, told National Observer.

“They (workers) don’t have any ownership to our town, so we really want to keep our community intact with less disturbances,” she explained. “If the mine’s gonna be here or other industries, we want them to be the best they can be for community members.”

The proximity of Nak’azdli to the infamous Highway of Tears only adds to the community’s safety concerns.

Since the late 1960s, dozens of women and girls — most of whom are Indigenous — have gone missing or disappeared along Highway 16, an east-west highway spanning northern B.C. that eventually leads through Edmonton and Saskatoon before meeting the TransCanada Highway at Portage la Prairie, Man. The “Highway of Tears” takes in smaller roads in the vicinity too, explains Highway of Tears Walkers co-ordinator Brenda Wilson.

Women reach for an embrace during the Nak’azdli Whut’en’s All Nations Gathering between Aug. 4 and 6, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Nak’azdli Whut’en on Facebook

Away from home with ‘a lot of money’

Mia is a First Nations woman in Alberta. A former sex trade worker, she said camp workers and sex go hand-in-hand. She worked in Fort McMurray for 10 years during the oilsands boom and was on call “23 hours a day.”

Mia’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

“I think the guys are maybe lonely,” she told National Observer. “They’re away from home, they have a lot of money — disposable income if you will.”

She came from what she describes as an abusive, broken home, and said adversarial circumstances led to the sex industry at age 17. She said she was encouraged to tell clients that she was Spanish or Italian, because Indigenous women were considered trash.

“The men became angry if they knew (you were Indigenous), and your value goes down significantly, so we didn’t reveal that.”

Mia described many dangerous encounters, including one with a client she said threatened to hang her in his apartment in Fort McMurray — a memory that haunts her. Employers know full well what’s going on, she added. But they don’t get involved.

“In that industry, nothing would surprise me. I can see people that may be running the camps turning a blind eye to this kind of thing.”

Mia said local women and girls in Alberta are recruited to the sex industry to service camp workers on a regular basis by pimps and escort agencies, and that locals in communities like Nak’azdli wouldn’t be passed by.

“We already know of cases where our young people have been recruited right off the reserve through the Internet. But if (a camp’s) in their own backyards, I would be very concerned,” she explained. “It’s scary. I hope that the communities are looking at ways of preventing and also educating on exploitation.”

Read full story here

September 21st 2017