Indigenous leaders and environmental groups vowed the Trans Mountain pipeline would never be built after the National Energy Board issued a second go-ahead to the federal government Friday.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said it’s “ludicrous” that economic interests are considered more important than killer whales.

“Indigenous people are not going to stand idly by and watch the destruction of the sacred killer whale population along the coast of B.C.,” Chief Philip vowed. “The thought of killer whales disappearing … is absolutely unthinkable.”

Stewart linked the SNC-Lavalin affair to the NEB decision, saying, “in this country, jobs are more important than justice.” He vowed that more lawsuits would be launched and said the pipeline “will never, ever see the light of day.”

The NEB found that marine shipping related to the oil pipeline is likely to cause "significant adverse environmental effects" on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the whale. It said greenhouse gas emissions from marine vessels would "likely be significant."

However, the NEB recommended that the federal government "can be justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable benefits of the Project and measures to minimize the effects."

Chief Bob Chamberlin, vice-president of the UBCIC, said Indigenous people have sacred connections to all animals and that the killer whale represents clans and houses that are important to First Nations governance.

Chamberlin said the fact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the pipeline will be built, makes a “mockery of the consultation process.”

'Our orcas are in crisis'

Chief Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the UBCIC, said the government is in a conflict of interest as the pipeline owner and that they’re trying to justify the decision by saying the pipeline will add jobs.

'In this country, jobs are more important than justice.' - Grand Chief Stewart Phillip @UBCIC #TransMountain #pipeline #NEB #CdnPoli

“They’re not even listening to our orcas. Our orcas are in crisis,” Wilson said. “If it’s a vote between the orcas and the tankers, I vote for the orcas.”

Tzeporah Berman, international program director at, said if the Prime Minister and cabinet rush their decision and approve the pipeline, Canadians will remember on the campaign trail this fall.

“Canadians expect more from the Prime Minister and from the Prime Minister’s Office,” Berman said. “We expect an ethically sound process. We expect evidence and scientific rigour. We expect this government to respect Indigenous rights.”

Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party, said only 90 permanent jobs and 2,500 temporary jobs would be created by the pipeline expansion, while many more jobs could be created by cleaning up the oil sands.

“They’re prepared to say that extinction, the violation of human rights of Indigenous people, the destruction of our coast line, … and feeding and fuelling global warming at a time when we know it’s now or never to protect human civilization from our demise ... (is) valuable, but not as valuable as the economic benefits,” May said. “The evidence is not only lacking, there is none for economic benefits to outweigh what they’ve studied and found to be devastating consequences.”

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver called the approval political and said the project is not in the interests of British Columbians.

"The negative impacts of this project on B.C. are unacceptable. B.C. would shoulder massive environmental costs, while gaining little economic benefit. A spill would be devastating to our environment, our coastal economies and our tourism industry," Weaver said in a statement. “B.C.’s economic future lies in the innovative, creative industries that are leading global economic growth, not the sunset industries of yesterday."

Eugene Kung from West Coast Environmental Law Association said the government has been aiming to only do the minimum in consultations.

“As a lawyer I’m kind of excited because it means we’re probably going to be in court soon, but as a Canadian I’m very disappointed because what is clearly happening is a continuation of this pattern of treating consultation like a burden rather than a duty,” Kung said. “The transparency and conflict issues here are astounding.”

Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel called on cabinet to refuse to approve the project.

“Given the threats the Trans Mountain pipeline poses to endangered Southern Resident killer whales, local communities and the climate, Cabinet cannot lawfully approve this project,” Tuytel said in a statement. “Ecojustice urges the ministers to reject the NEB’s recommendation and shut the door on the Trans Mountain project once and for all.”

There is a 90-day deadline for government to respond to the NEB's decision, however that deadline can be extended.

Tracy Sherlock writes about B.C. politics for National Observer. Send tips and comments to [email protected].

Keep reading

Canadian government to coastal BC: Fuck you.

Coastal BC to Canada: Fuck you right back

I agree with Rafe.

"Robert Steedman, the chief environmental officer of the NEB, said Friday that conditions in the Salish Sea along B.C.'s coastline are already so badly degraded from centuries of human activity that the addition of just one more tanker per day would have a minor impact on the endangered southern resident killer whale population."
"Ottawa one step closer to building Trans Mountain expansion, but project foes vow to dig in" (CBC, Feb 22, 2019)

Pre-existing degradation and current threats to whales are an argument to remediate degraded areas and reduce threats to whales – not increase them.

"just one more tanker per day"
From around 30 tankers a year to 408 implies a nearly fourteen-fold increase in tanker traffic. Not including tug escorts.
Dizzying spin.

Truduea is just trying to get the heat off his back from his latest stupidity.

The NEB has one message for caring Canadians who want to preserve the resources of our planet: Up your nose and in your face people. I can’t remember when words were writ that so brazenly identified a willingness to kill and destroy the resources we depend upon. It is crushing.

Has the PM forgotten …. that ONLY communities can give permission.
A Washington State study concluded “...simply...there is no guarantee that RISK increases ..... can be fully mitigated.” ??

The 16 NEB new ‘recommendations’ include lots of ‘touchy feely’ ideas plus the NEB original 156 recommendations ! !
Recommendation 9. “consider a Canada/United States trans boundary risk assessment Vessel Traffic risk assessment “.

Apparently our stables of scientists and Professional Engineers want to see a more rigorous review of a proponents plan… North Vancouver ,MP Jonathan Wilkinson, , held a press c ….. to unveil Government Bill C 69 changes… the new ….assessment process … will … no longer depend entirely on scientific data supplied by project proponents..

Our Senate issued their ignored “pipeline study “…and recommended “government must … restore legitimacy to the pipeline approval process.” ??
Science Minister explained Government policy ,I presume …. “We need to be basing our decisions ……on facts…..and …. SCIENCE “! Never noticed ! !
Our PM, in the public interest, could ‘put to rest’ the Community concerns….and let Alberta ship more oil through a new pipeline terminal near Port Simpson ,and thus relieving all the anticipated/feared environmental pressure from southern BC and Washington State.
Carl Shalansky, P. Eng. (Retired)
(604) 986-4657

Power-over treats life as a burden, using force, money and propaganda. Only conscientious beings can tell the differences between stewardship of the environment and threats to our survival.

NEB ‘Reconsideration Report’ a New Low for Failing Agency
Trans Mountain approval downplays environmental and financial risks.
By Andrew Nikiforuk.

“The disconnect is huge,” says economist Robyn Allan. “The board has now underestimated marine risks just to approve a project whose economic benefits don’t exist.”

“And they approved a $5-billion project based on the 2015 calculations when in fact the project will likely cost closer to $10 billion. They are denying the facts, the truth and the science.”

…as posted in Seattle Times(Letters) today…further to their article today… If Trans Mountain pipeline approved, reroute ship traffic

A solution is to build a new pipeline from Alberta to a site on the BC north coast that could handle larger tankers while giving direct access to the Pacific. The Trans Mountain Expansion(TMX) pipeline , as proposed, has been fumbled for too many years by our ‘pipe dreamer’ Prime Minister and an inept National Energy Board .Even our Federal Appeal court ruled the government’ first approval was flawed and sent the project back to Energy Board to be reworked while ordering special consideration to the impact of the added tankers and the ineffective communication with First Nations .The second review is in government hands for approval. This Court ordered rehash is deficient in many areas and likely will end back in the Courts which suggests that a new, more publically export plan be developed now!
The new larger capacity facility would allow Alberta to ship more bitumen and governments to recover ‘lost’ export revenues ….and many happier BC and Washington State communities….and whales.

Carl Shalansky, P. Eng. (Retired)
(604) 986-4657

Carl - may I remind you about the "leave it in the ground!!" part, please?! It is the ONLY solution to this whole dilemma! No need for mitigation of ANY kind! No need for alternative ways of getting the goop off Canadian soil, etc. etc.!!
Thank you.

Say ten billion bucks for a pipeline. Wonder how many wind farms and solar panels we could build for that?

dear Carl,
In case you don't remember Northern Gateway is done! We don't want bitumen any where near the north coast either!