On May 29, 2018, the Federal government announced they would be purchasing Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline system for $4.5 billion, which includes both the existing Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia and the expansion project to twin the pipeline. The government’s co-marketing arrangement with Kinder Morgan to find a third-party buyer ends today, leaving Canada as the new owner unless it can find a new buyer without Kinder Morgan’s help.

Meanwhile, in the Prairies, Enbridge is moving ahead with the Line 3 replacement and expansion. This pipeline runs through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The new Line 3 would transport 760,000 barrels of crude oil per day – which is roughly equal to 48 Olympic swimming pools full of oil – and would be Enbridge’s largest project to date. This June, Minnesota regulators approved the Line 3 proposal. While some have called this approval the “last major regulatory hurdle“, the line’s route is not yet finalized, and many believe this issue will end up in the courts.

Then there’s the proposed LNG project, which would include a terminal and a pipeline to export liquefied natural gas that runs from northeastern British Columbia to Kitimat. While a decision on whether to go ahead with this project isn’t expected until the end of 2018, LNG Canada is “giving every indication that it’s planning to approve the project.”

Why stop pipelines?

burrard inlet tanker trafficUnceded Land: The existing Trans Mountain pipeline goes through Tsliel Waututh Nation’s traditional territory, and the proposed expansion would increase tanker traffic by seven-fold in the Burrard Inlet, which the nation has a sacred responsibility to steward. Asserting Secwepemc sovereignty in their unceded territory, the Tiny House Warriors recently set up a new village at a planned worker’s camp in North Thompson Provincial Park.

Duty to Consult: The government is required under our Constitution to meaningfully consult with First Nations before making decisions that might negatively impact their Aboriginal rights. Several First Nations communities have alleged they were not adequately consulted by the Canadian government before the National Energy Board’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and are currently awaiting a ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal. See more about the possible outcomes of this case and what these ruling could mean here.

Climate Commitments: In 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada estimated that the production and processing of an extra 590,000 barrels a day (Trans Mountain expansion estimates) would emit 13-15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This is like adding another 3.75 million cars on Canadian roads.

This figure also does not include the emissions emitted from destroying forests and wetlands—which store carbon dioxide—and ignores downstream emissions (what happens after the oil leaves the pipeline), which make up the vast majority of the project’s total emissions.

Continuing to invest in and expand pipeline infrastructure also leads to a continued expansion of the fossil fuel economy. Conversations for Responsible Economic Development states that “We cannot build new pipelines, expand the oil sands and meet our climate targets. These are incompatible goals.” This analysis by Stephen Leahy estimates that the climate impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “will cost at least $2.1 to $8.7 billion upfront, and at least $675 million a year, for as long as the pipeline operates.”

burrard inlet oil spillDangers of an Oil Spill: Since the 1960s, the existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has not gone longer than 4 years without a spill. This past May, a spill occurred north of Kamloops, leaking 4,800 litres of crude oil into the ground. The Tsleil Waututh Nation, who conducted an independent assessment of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, stated “The likelihood of oil spills will increase if the TMEX proposal is implemented, and because spilled oil cannot be cleaned up completely, the consequences are dire for sensitive sites, habitat, and species, and for the Tsleil-Waututh subsistence economy, cultural activities, and contemporary economy.”

kinder morgan spill

1 barrel = 160 litres


Ten Things You Can Do to Stop Pipelines from Anywhere in Canada!

1. Sign these Petitions

  • This petition, launched by 17+ current and former members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel the buyout of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and expansion project.
  • This Greenpeace petition also calls on Prime Minister “Crudeau” to stop the Kinder Morgan buyout.
  • This Parliamentary petition, sponsored by MP Elizabeth May, calls upon the Federal Government to halt its purchase plans of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and not otherwise support its expansion.
  • Sierra Club B.C.’s petition also tells Justin Trudeau that Canadians do not want Kinder Morgan bailed out.
  • This Green Party petition encourages signees to “Stand with thousands of Canadians and voice your opposition to Kinder Morgan. Until the pipeline expansion breaks ground, let’s seize every chance to turn back the government’s devastating decision.”
  • B.C. non-profit Dogwood launched this petition to call on the federal government to stop using our tax dollars to bailout Kinder Morgan.

2. Follow these Organizations

Individuals, organizations, and grassroots movements have all risen up to stop pipelines – here are some of the prominent organizations you should follow to stay in the loop!

Send me an email if you know of other groups to add to this list!

3. Take the Coast Protector’s Pledge

More than 25,000 people have taken the pledge online: “With our voice, in the courts or the streets, on the water or the land. Whatever it takes, we will stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project.” Join them here!

4. Donate to the Stop KM Legal Defence Fund

All proceeds raised from this shirt (available in a variety of colours and styles) will also support the Legal Defence Fund! Look cool and help stop pipelines at the same time. 🙂

More than 211 people have been arrested for breaking a court-ordered injunction at Kinder Morgan’s work sites, including Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson and former head of the BC Teachers Federation Susan Lambert, Indigenous activist, campaigner, and father Clayton Thomas-Müller, this 70-year old grandmother, a 17-year-old high school student, a former Trans Mountain environmental engineer, and many other brave individuals. This fund collects and distributes funds to support these individuals with legal fees for “criminal and contempt of court charges, civil litigation, and related immigration or child custody/welfare issues as well as travel costs and other associated legal defence expenses.” Donate to the fund here.

5. Watch these movies

The Living Salish Sea is a 88-minute documentary documenting the life, complexity, and beauty of the Salish Sea using extensive underwater cinematography. Elizabeth May gives it a glowing review, stating that “This sweeping documentary takes us in and under the waters of the Salish Sea, while more fully understanding the threats posed by the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to this incredible ecosystem.” Check out the trailer here or the full film here!


“What it appeared to me was local communities were being bullied by a federal government and an industry that was really hell bent on making sure this project went through… The grievances that I heard, and the ways in which people’s concerns were being sidelined made me feel like I needed to do something,” says Zack Embree, who co-directed this film alongside Devyn Brugge. This 75-minute documentary looks directly at the impact of pipelines on communities across the country. Rent it online here.

6. Support the Spirit of the Buffalo Camp

This peaceful camp was recently set up on the Line 3 pipeline route near the Canada/U.S. Border at Gretna. There are several ways you can support this land defence!

  1. You can join the camp if you’re nearby!
  2. Provide financial support to the camp here.
  3. Spread the word! Follow Spirit of the Buffalo and Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition (see links above) and share their updates with your family, friends, and anyone else you can!

7. Attend one of these upcoming events or plan your own event

We’ve compiled a list of upcoming events taking place across the country to stop pipelines (Email me if you know of other upcoming events!).

-July 24th: Line 3 Legal Workshop & Meeting
-July 31st: Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition Community BBQ

-July 23rd: Watch House Workshop
-July 31st: Fill the courts & support defendants facing jail time!
-August 7th: Build Our Future – Not a Pipeline! Intersection Rally

-August 6th: Fight the Pipeline Fundraiser

-July 24th: StopKM Debrief and Next Steps
-July 29th: Greenpeace at Pedestrian Sunday!

If you’re not located in one of these cities—or even if you are—consider starting your own event or action to stop pipelines! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Hold a bake sale, clothing drive, or garage sale to raise money for one of the organizations or movements listed above
  • Organize a screening of Directly Affected in your community
  • Plan a thunderclap (when people sign up to tweet a synchronized message) directed towards Justin Trudeau or your local MP

8. Volunteer to Stop Pipelines

Many of the organizations listed above are looking for volunteers to help them stop pipelines. If you’re in Winnipeg, consider volunteering with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition (more info here), who has many opportunities for you to get involved. For those in or near Vancouver, consider volunteering at the Watch House, or dropping off a meal at their camp. Go through the organizations listed above and see how you can help stop pipelines.

9. Learn more

If you’re concerned about the dangers of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion –> The Tsleil Waututh Nation conducted an independent assessment of the project that is exponentially more robust than the National Energy Board’s was. Their FAQ webpage also answers a lot of specific questions about oil spills, tanker traffic, wildlife, and economic interests.

If you want to know where First Nations communities stand on the issue –>This APTN database allows you to search or browse by community to see their position on the Trans Mountain project, as well as how they came to that position and why.

If you’re curious about those being arrested at the Trans Mountain work sites –> This moving op-ed by Clayton Thomas-Müller details why he protested against the pipeline expansion.

If you’re less familiar with Line 3 –> check out this op-ed to see why Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition thinks the Line 3 expansion is “all risk and no reward.”

10. Don’t give up!

Kinder Morgan walked away from the project due to “continued actions in opposition to the project” by the B.C. government. With today’s deadline of quickly finding a third-party buyer passing, it appears that, for the time being, Canada will continue to be the owner of the pipeline and the expansion project. It’s more important than ever to tell the Federal government that this project is not in our country’s best interest. When we elected Justin Trudeau, we believed that he would use our tax dollars to fulfill his promises of climate action and reconciliation efforts, not to buy a pipeline from a Texas-based company and give them a seven-fold return to boot. Instead of divesting from fossil fuels like Costa Rica and Ireland, we’re making a long-term investment in this dying industry.

“There is no one moment that stops a project, rarely is there just one moment… It took us 10 years to stop [Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipelines.] It took us five years to stop [The Energy East pipeline]. We’ll stop this one too.” –Tzeporah Berman, a director for Stand.earth