Chief blasts Harper for pushing oil pipeline, blatantly ignoring climate change

Jenny Uechi

The chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band south of Kamloops, B.C., whose territory is crucial to the $5.4-billion Kinder Morgan expansion project, wrote a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister today about his "serious reservations" about the project.  

Kinder Morgan's pipeline recently spilled 12 barrels of oil in June 2013 on the Aboriginal territory, in the province's interior.

Chief Aaron Sam gives a sharp critique of Prime Minister Harper's lack of policies to address climate change, and said First Nations near Alberta's oil sands need more meaningful consultation in light of the environmental destruction on their territory. 

Kinder Morgan owns a pipeline that has transported oil from Alberta to Burnaby for 60 years.  It is now is applying to the federal government to twin the pipeline, to increase the oil flow from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.

The project would increase the number of oil tankers in the Vancouver area from 60 per year, to more than 400, said the company.

Read the chief's full letter below:

 July 30th, 2014

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block,
Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0A2

Prime Minister,

My name is Aaron Sam and I am the elected Chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, part of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. We are located outside of Merritt, B.C. in the heart of our traditional territory in the southern interior of British Columbia. As you may know, the Kinder Morgan pipeline currently runs through our Lower Nicola Indian Band reserve. One of the decisions our community has to make this next year is whether we will agree to the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline through our Indian reserve and traditional territory.