THE U.S. AND CANADA ARE PREPARING FOR A NEW STANDING ROCK OVER THE TRANS MOUNTAIN TAR SANDS PIPELINE
Originally Published at The Intercept
By Alleen Brown and Will Parrish
July 17 2018
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S southern interior, on unceded land of the Secwepemc Nation, Kanahus Manuel stands alongside a 7-by-12-foot “tiny house” mounted on a trailer. Her uncle screws a two-by-four into a floor panel while her brother-in-law paints a mural on the exterior walls depicting a moose, birds, forests, and rivers — images of the terrain through which the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will pass, if it can get through the Tiny House Warriors’ roving blockade. The project would place a new pipeline alongside the existing Trans Mountain line, tripling the system’s capacity to 890,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen flowing daily from Alberta through British Columbia to an endpoint outside Vancouver.
On May 29, the Canadian government announced that it would nationalize the Trans Mountain pipeline to assure the expansion would be built, putting up 4.5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.5 billion) to acquire the pipeline and other assets from the Texas-based energy giant Kinder Morgan. The purchase has dramatically raised the stakes of the fight for both the administration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and pipeline opponents like Manuel.
Should construction begin as scheduled in August, the Tiny House Warriors expect waves of allies from Indigenous nations inside Canada and beyond to join them as they wheel 10 of the houses into the pipeline’s path. Near the pipeline’s terminus outside Vancouver, members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation have constructed a traditional “watch house” from which to monitor the progress of construction.
In Washington state, where a branch of the existing Trans Mountain line feeds processed tar sands bitumen to four refineries along Puget Sound, law enforcement agencies are preparing for the anti-pipeline struggle to spill over to the U.S. side of the border. The sheriff’s office in Whatcom County monitored activists’ plans to travel to British Columbia for a recent Trans Mountain protest, and information collected was shared with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Washington State Patrol, and the Washington State Fusion Center. The sheriff’s office has arranged at least two multiagency law enforcement trainings on protest response in the last year and a half.
Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP/The Intercept