Greenpeace Co-Founder Arrested Protesting Trans Mountain Pipeline

On Monday, Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler and the children of founding family members were arrested while peacefully protesting the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. They were joined at the independently organized protest on unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, Canada) by Canadian and American allies who oppose the pipeline for violating Indigenous rights, worsening the effects of global warming, harming the environment and its wildlife, as well as threatening the health and well-being of local communities from Canada to the Pacific Coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Rex Weyler, a founding member of Greenpeace, said: “Forty-six years ago, Greenpeace got its start right here in Vancouver protecting this coastline, and the world, from the sorts of ecological disasters and social disruption that Kinder Morgan’s pipeline threatens. Like then, we stand now for protection of the natural bounty that keeps our communities alive and prosperous. We stand here on the land and by the waters of the Tsleil Waututh people, who have shown us generosity and taught us responsibility, in solidarity and prepared to go to jail, to preserve the ecological integrity of this coast for ourselves and future generations.”

Barbara and Bob Stowe, daughter and son of Greenpeace founders Dorothy and Irving Stowe, said: “We see a lot of parallels between the fight against Kinder Morgan today, and Greenpeace's first action: sailing a boat to stop nuclear bomb tests in Alaska in 1971. Like Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, those tests did not have Indigenous consent and would devastate a pristine environment. Both projects amounted to a government-approved home invasion on indigenous territory. Today, we will stand with Coast Salish Peoples against it. If our parents were alive today, they'd be standing right here with us.”

A British Columbia judge recently issued an injunction to stifle protests along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Weyler, an American-Canadian who grew up and was educated in the United States, was joined by Barbara and Bobby Stowe, the children of Greenpeace co-founders Dorothy and Irving Stowe. They protested in solidarity with Indigenous and environmental allies, risking arrest to stop construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and to prove that Big Oil CEOs won’t succeed in limiting the free speech of concerned citizens and their right to peaceful assembly. This comes against the backdrop of Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) baseless $900 million lawsuit against Greenpeace and others alleging that independent organizations formed a “criminal enterprise” that instigated violence to damage the company. But the transparent goal of the oil industry is to squelch any and all opposition to its pipelines.

Monday's protest, however, continues the overwhelming momentum in the fight to keep the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from being constructed. Today’s protest was one of several independently planned this week by Canadian and American individuals and follows the recent Indigenous-led march of more than 10,000 people who voiced their opposition to the pipeline and its harmful effects, making international news in the process. This was followed by the announcement of Washington Governor Jay Inslee that he too opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion because it would threaten our climate and the existence of the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. Greenpeace applauded Governor Inslee and called for him to continue using the full weight of his influence to ensure the Trans Mountain expansion is never completed, and for his fellow elected officials in Washington, Oregon, and California to do the same

Pipelines like Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, and Enbridge’s Line 3 worsen the effects of climate change because of their high carbon emissions when oil is extracted and burned. Further, research into Kinder Morgan, Trans Canada, and Enbridge have shown that from 2010 to the present they have had 373 hazardous liquid spills from their U.S. pipeline networks, jeopardizing the safety of drinking water. Further, expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would increase tar sands oil tanker traffic along the Pacific Coast. The noise these ships make would jeopardize the survival of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, whose numbers have dwindled to just 76 in recent years. And since more tankers mean more spills, any increase in coastal traffic puts marine life and local fish populations at risk, including the tourism and fishing industry jobs they support.

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