Environment

Two Arrested After Shutting Down Kinder Morgan Terminal in Escalating Protests Against Major Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

The growing Bay Area resistance stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.

(Richmond, CA) — In a sign of growing escalation, protesters Monday locked themselves to steel barrels and blocked three gates of the Kinder Morgan Richmond Terminal for the second time in two weeks, demanding that the company halt its new Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada. Two were arrested. In what many environmental and Indigenous activists are starting to call the “Standing Rock of the North,” the controversial project would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Edmonton, Calgary to Burnaby, British Columbia—an increase to 890,000 barrels per day. This project is based on the extraction of tar sands oil, one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels.

"Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay.  “Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish. We all know that we must transition off of fossil fuels in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Why waste so many resources on a losing proposition?"

The growing Bay Area resistance to this Kinder Morgan pipeline stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The groundbreaking alliance of Indigenous nations formally opposes all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters. The recently elected government of British Columbia also opposes the project.

"Thanks to California's brand new cap and trade climate bill AB 398, it’s now extremely likely that this very terminal we are blocking today will be a destination point for the tar sands oil that would be piped in by Trans Mountain,” said Andres Soto of Communities for a Better Environment.  “AB 398 is an abomination and a threat to environmental justice worldwide.”

AB 398 passed just two weeks earlier despite opposition from a broad coalition of climate and environmental justice groups. The new law blocks the ability of local air quality agencies from establishing rules limiting greenhouse gases and opens up the door for refining tar sands crude in Richmond, which would worsen air pollution in surrounding communities.

“From the fence-lines of Richmond, we stand in solidarity with the First Nations fighting on the frontlines of tar sands extraction,” said Adrian Wilson of Diablo Rising Tide. “It is time to start fighting back against these oil companies polluting our communities from the cradle to the grave of the fossil fuel death cycle.”

Kinder Morgan, a spin-off from Enron, is one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies. The company claims it will start construction on its 715-mile Trans Mountain pipeline in September despite fierce opposition to the project from numerous First Nations and other communities and cities along its path.

"We salute all the water protectors, coast protectors and climate warriors on the front lines of these pipeline battles, standing up for Indigenous rights, the water and a safe climate,” said Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake on behalf of the Indigenous Nations who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. "Resistance to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion tar sands pipeline and tanker project will be strongest in British Columbia, but it won't stop there: Kinder Morgan can count on fierce resistance all over North America by Indigenous People and their allies."

“This is clearly just the beginning,” said Patrick McCully of Rainforest Action Network. “This is the second week in a row that activists are blockading this facility — and you can expect protests up and down the West Coast as banks and oil companies continue to try and profit from climate chaos and human rights violations that will be caused by these disastrous tar sands pipelines. Companies like Kinder Morgan are on notice. Banks like JPMorgan Chase are on notice. Get out of tar sands. Get out of extreme oil. Get out of the climate change business and get on the right side of science and history.”

See the photos of Monday's action (all photos credit: Rudi Tcruz):

 

Ayşe Gürsöz is Communications Manager, Climate and Energy, at the Rainforest Action Network.

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