About 80 people took part in a roadside rally against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion on Glover Road near the intersection with Rawlison Crescent in Fort Langley.
They carried signs that bore messages like “no Kinder Morgan surprises,” “clean energy now” and “save the salmon.”
The protest was near a test drilling site on Rawlison, where Kinder Morgan was doing geotechnical testing he week before.
One resident, who asked not to be named, told The Times that several large vehicles blocked off access to a community mailbox for five days.
Kwantlen First Nation member Brandon Gabriel, a co-organizer of the protest, said there are unresolved land claims and environmental concerns that need to be addressed.
He said the area where the testing was conducted is a “sensitive forest and watershed habitat.”
Trans Mountain confirmed it was doing testing on two private properties in Fort Langley, one near the Salmon River and the other on Rawlison Crescent.
“We are conducting these studies to continue to develop detailed engineering on our proposed expansion corridor and further seismic assessments,” said Lisa Clement, media relations spokesman for Trans Mountain expansion project.
The drilling, which went 30 metres deep, was done 12 hours a day and completed in a week, she said.
Kinder Morgan has its existing pipeline running through parts of North Langley, Fort Langley, Walnut Grove and then west into Port Kells.
But it is looking to triple its capacity for oil which would be piped from Alberta through numerous B.C. communities to the Burnaby terminal. Some would be used at the existing Chevron refinery, but the vast majority would be shipped as crude oil via tanker to Asian customers.
“I would like to iterate that the people who come out to these events are not fringe groups operating on the margins of society and they are all people who live, work, go to school, teach, and who care about our environment, economy, and are proud to call this place home. I am one of those people,” said Gabriel of the Thursday rally. He also rallied on Burnaby Mountain when Kinder Morgan was doing testing there.
He said being an opponent of the Kinder Morgan pipeline doesn’t make him anti-petroleum or anti-Canadian. The Township has taken a neutral position on the pipeline issue and that does not “sit well” with Gabriel.
On the Township website, under ‘pipeline input’ the Township said it has concerns with Kinder Morgan’s intentions.
“The Township of Langley remains concerned with Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project,” it states.
If approved, the project would see the twinning of the existing pipeline by locating a portion of the new pipeline within the existing corridor as far west as 217A Street. Then a new pipeline corridor would be established for the remainder. In August 2014, Kinder Morgan revised its corridor alignment to run through or around Redwoods Golf Course and through the industrial part of North West Langley toward Port Kells. Most of that route would be along the CN rail line.
“The Township remains concerned about various aspects about the project, including: the potential environmental and socio-economic effects; the costs to taxpayers related to the installation and long term operation of the pipeline; the accountability of Kinder Morgan to respond adequately in case of an incident,” the Township website states.
Kinder Morgan has held several information open houses in Walnut Grove.
Langley Township has taken a neutral position as an intervenor with the National Energy Board, which is currently reviewing the entire project.
Gabriel, an artist, took part in a 1,300 km canoe journey last summer along the coastline of B.C. to Alaska to bring awareness of the ecology of the area, and the culture of the First Nations who live along the coast.
“My journey up the entire coast of B.C. this past summer really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I was immersed in the worm’s eye view of the rugged beauty of our coastline and saw the importance that all life forms, both big and small, have in the production of a healthy ecosystem,” said Gabriel. “I also saw the heavy duty negative legacies left behind by other big industries such as logging, commercial fishing, and mining.”
– with files from Dan Ferguson