Activists claim they've "shut down" Kinder Morgan's geotechnical operations in Burrard Inlet

Charlie Smith
Xenoa Skinteh indicated his displeasure with the barge in Burrard Inlet before direct action took place today.

Activists have issued a news release claiming that they've seized a drilling barge near Westridge Marine Terminal. Around noon, it was boarded by two activists.

"Under the consent of Tsleil-Waututh Hereditary Chief Tulsii'm Kia'palanexw and Wei-Wai-Kay Hereditary Chief Geh-Soh-Giliach, Gigamaie, work crews contracted by Kinder Morgan undertaking offshore geotechnical operations on the Burrard Inlet by Westridge Marine Terminal, were shut down at approximately noon this morning by Hereditary Chief Geh-Soh-Giliach, Gigamaie and Xenoa Skinteh," the news release states. "Both people were involved in the Autumn Resistance of 2014 on so called Burnaby Mountain."

Kinder Morgan's subsidiary, Trans Mountain, plans to expand Westbridge Marine Terminal to accommodate a new dock with three berths and additional pipelines. There's also a planned extension of the marine foreshore, among other additions.

Trans Mountain has claimed that its proposed pipeline project will generate $23.7 billion in additional taxes and royalties to federal and provincial governments over a 20-year period. It would also result in more than 300 oil tankers per year travelling through Burrard Inlet to take the product to various markets.

Today's news release stated that late last year, Kinder Morgan gave notice that drilling would occur between December 2015 and February 2016.

"Kinder Morgan has not undertaken the necessary consultation with Hereditary Chiefs, and they are infringing upon the sovereignty of indigenous people of the unceded lands and waters here in Coast Salish Territory," the news release states.

Later, the statement declares that this action "should also serve as a reminder to the public that we must do more than write, rally, and march".

"All are necessary but direct action is what will protect the water, air, land and people from toxic tar sands developments, the capitalistic drive of the Kinder Morgan machine, and the genocidal Canadian government," it claims. "It is also to show true solidarity with Indigenous nations, as they are most regularly the first displaced, the first poisoned, and the first killed by extractive processes."

The statement adds that direct action was "successfully used" on Burnaby Mountain in 2014 prior to the involvement of environmental nongovernmental organizations.